PJCIS to review further intelligence reforms

AT THE REQUEST of the Minister for Home Affairs, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) has commenced a review of the National Security Legislation Amendment (Comprehensive Review and Other Measures No.3) Bill 2023.

The Bill would amend several pieces of national security legislation to address twelve recommendations of the 2020 Comprehensive Review of the Legal Framework of the National Intelligence Community (known as the Richardson Review), and to make other amendments identified as necessary by the intelligence community.

Key amendments proposed by the Bill seek to:

  • strengthen protections around the identity of employees of the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS);
  • improve the ability of ASIO to communicate information, and provide additional protections for individuals communicating certain information;
  • increase operational flexibility through updated approval processes for certain intelligence activities;
  • clarify provisions relating to the authorisation of certain intelligence activities;
  • provide for quicker processing of non-prejudicial security clearance suitability assessments;
  • require ASIO to notify the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security when certain security assessments, security clearance decisions, and security clearance suitability assessments have not been made or furnished within 12 months;
  • clarify that only the Attorney-General, and not junior ministers, can exercise certain powers relating to ASIO and to telecommunications.

Mr Peter Khalil MP, Chair of the PJCIS, said, “The committee looks forward to receiving the views of interested parties on the reforms proposed by the Bill, which aim to further refine and enhance the legal framework governing Australia’s intelligence agencies.”

Submissions to the inquiry are invited by Friday, February 2, 2024.

Further information on the inquiry can be obtained from the Committee’s website.



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