The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) today tabbed its Advisory Report on the Intelligence Services Amendment Bill 2018.

The Committee supported the two main aims of the Bill which were to:

  • enable the Minister to specify additional persons outside Australia who may be protected by an ASIS staff member or agent, and
  • provide that an ASIS staff member or agent performing specified activities outside Australia will be able to use reasonable and necessary force in the performance of an ASIS function.

In its report the Committee noted the extensive consultation process that ASIS undertook with the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS) in the drafting of the Bill.

In judging the legitimacy reasonableness and transparency — including appropriate oversight — of the Bill the Committee had regard to the:

  • comprehensive consultation and decision making process that must be undertaken by the Minister before authorising the use of these powers,
  • Guidelines surrounding the use of these powers, and
  • oversight provided by referral of these Guidelines to the IGIS and this Committee.

The Committee noted that the oversight requirements in the Bill replicate existing oversight requirements and provide an appropriate level of transparency recognising the necessary sensitivities of ASIS activities.

The Committee was satisfied with the provisions contained in the Bill and recommended that the Intelligence Services Amendment Bill 2018 be passed.

The PJCIS Chair, Mr Andrew Hastie MP, said the tabling of this report is an example of the non-partisan and consultative manner in which the Committee are able to scrutinise national security legislation.

Further information about the inquiry can be accessed via the Committee’s website athttp://www.aph.gov.au/pjcis.

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