PETER KHALIL MP
MEMBER FOR WILLS
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES SPEECH
THURSDAY 20 MARCH 2023
Subjects: PJCIS Report on the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Bill
SHARON CLAYDON, DEPUTY SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I give the call to the Member for Wills.
PETER KHALIL, FEDERAL MEMBER FOR WILLS: Thank you, Deputy Speaker. On behalf of the Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence and Security, I present the Committee’s report on the Inquiry into the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Modernisation) Bill 2022. Thank you. The Committee supports the measures of the bill, which would enhance the oversight of Australia’s intelligence agencies by –
CLAYDON: Sorry, Member for Wills – I believe you need to seek leave to speak.
KHALIL: Thank you, Deputy Speaker. I ask leave of the House to make a short statement in connection with the report.
CLAYDON: Is leave granted? Okay, now we can go over to the Member for Wills.
KHALIL: Thank you, Deputy Speaker, not as graciously as for the Member for McNamara, but that’s okay, I’ll forgive you. I present the Committee’s report to the Inquiry into the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Modernisation) Bill 2022. The Committee supports the measures of the bill, which would enhance the oversight of Australia’s intelligence agencies by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security. During its inquiry, the Committee has acknowledged the important role of the Inspector General in providing assurance to Australians that its intelligence agencies are performing their functions appropriately. At the same time, Deputy Speaker, the Committee also considered that while there were other legislative provisions that provide for the Inspector-General to share information with the Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, there are also some legislative barriers to information sharing that could be improved. Therefore, the Committee has recommended that the government consider appropriate legislative amendments to facilitate better information sharing.
Additionally, the Committee carefully considered evidence regarding the eligibility for appointment to the role of Inspector-General of Intelligence. The Committee recommends that an individual’s eligibility for the appointment to the role of Inspector-General should occur after an appropriate period of time to be determined by government following that individual’s employment in an intelligence agency. The remaining recommendations comprise a minor amendment to align the provisions of the bill with equivalent legislative provisions and to recommend the Office of National Intelligence develop an employment framework governing staff engaged under its own enabling legislation. Deputy Speaker, the Committee acknowledges that the amendments put forward in the bill form only part of the implementation of several recommendations from a series of independent reviews. The Committee notes that the implementation of remaining recommendations is currently under consideration and the Committee looks forward to the opportunity to consider further advice and action in this regard in due course. On behalf of the Committee, Deputy Speaker, I extend my thanks to the Deputy Speaker, other members of the Committee who participated in the inquiry within such a very, very short time frame, I might add for the record – and so there was a fair bit of compromise amongst all of us to try and get this done. So I do thank the Deputy Speaker and all the members of the Committee, and the secretariat, of course, for making this possible in such a short time frame. It’s quite unique. We had submissions provided and appearances at public hearings in record time, so I want to thank the secretariat for all their hard work on this inquiry and the report. Deputy Speaker, I commend this report to the House.