Intelligence Oversight and Other Legislation Amendment (Integrity Measures) Bill 2020
The submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security in response to the Intelligence Oversight and Other Legislation Amendment (Integrity Measures) Bill 2020 (Bill) was prepared by the Law Council of Australia.
The Law Council welcomes the introduction of the Bill, and supports the proposals to:
- extend the independent operational oversight functions of the InspectorGeneral of Intelligence and Security (IGIS) to cover the ‘intelligence functions’ of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) and the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC);
- extend the oversight functions of the Committee, in relation to matters of agency administration and expenditure, to cover AUSTRAC to the extent of its ‘intelligence functions’;
- confer information-sharing powers on the IGIS and other Commonwealth integrity agencies with oversight functions in relation to the ACIC and AUSTRAC. These agencies are principally the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI), Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), Commonwealth Ombudsman (Ombudsman) and Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC). The proposed amendments will enable these integrity agencies to cooperate with each other to manage any overlap in their respective oversight jurisdiction in relation to the ACIC and AUSTRAC. This includes by sharing information with each other, conducting joint inquiries, and transferring complaints by agreement, if it would be more convenient and effective for another integrity agency to examine the matters raised in a complaint;
- confer powers on the IGIS to share information with the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force (IGADF) about matters within their concurrent jurisdiction. (For example, if an Australia Defence Force—ADF—member is made available to an intelligence agency to perform functions or exercise powers of the intelligence agency, either as part of a particular operation, in the nature of a secondment arrangement; or on an ongoing ‘employment-like’ basis.) The IGADF is presently able to share relevant information with the IGIS,1 but the secrecy provisions in section 34 of the IGIS Act currently prevent the IGIS from sharing information with the IGADF; and
- make several relatively minor amendments to the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Act 1986 (Cth) (IGIS Act) to modernise outdated provisions, improve the clarity of certain drafting expressions, and enhance flexibility in the manner in which the IGIS performs their functions (referred to in this submission as ‘modernisation reforms’).
You can read the full submission below.