Intelligence Committee tables report on military secrets legislation

THE Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) today tabled its Advisory Report on the Defence Amendment (Safeguarding Australia’s Military Secrets) Bill 2023.

The committee’s unanimous report recommended that the Bill pass and made four recommendations for the Government’s consideration including:

  • assessing the existing legislation and procedures and whether they sufficiently cover working or training for paramilitary organisations and militias by former defence personnel;
  • providing the Minister for Defence with the ability to determine by legislative instrument classes or categories of non-former Defence members that are not required to apply for an authorisation – for example, in cases where a company has been approved to provide goods under the Defence Export Control (DEC) arrangements;
  • assessing how existing legislation and procedures covering former National Intelligence Community officers and their work for foreign governments should be strengthened, and address the need for further legislation.

The Bill would amend the Defence Act 1903 to regulate the work that certain former defence staff members can perform for or on behalf of a military organisation or government body of a relevant foreign country, without a foreign work authorisation.

Chair of the PJCIS, Peter Khalil MP said, “Once passed, this Bill will deal with the potential of former defence staff members revealing sensitive defence information and placing Australia’s national security at risk. In addition it provides our allies with more confidence that securing sensitive military information is at the forefront of the Australian Government’s national security thinking."

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



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