PJCIS Annual Report 2021-2022





Subjects: PJCIS Report

IAN GOODENOUGH, DEPUTY SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I call the honourable Member for Wills.

PETER KHALIL, FEDERAL MEMBER FOR WILLS: Thank you, Deputy Speaker. On behalf of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, I present the Committee’s report, entitled: “Annual Report of Committee Activities, 2021-2022”, and I ask leave of the House to make a short statement in connection with that report.

GOODENOUGH: Leave is granted. Please proceed.

KHALIL: Thank you, Deputy Speaker. I present the Committee’s annual report of its activities for the year 2021-2022, which was presented out of session and published on the 22nd of February 2023. In line with the legislative obligations set out in the Intelligence Services Act 2001 that the committee report annually on its activities, the report provides details of the Committee’s work in the financial year ending on the 30th of June 2022. Of course, this is in fact a report of the activities of the former Committee during the final year of the 46th Parliament. The Committee recognises its responsibility to the Australian public to provide as much transparency as possible with respect to its oversight functions for agencies within the national intelligence community, while at the same time respecting the unique secrecy and confidentiality requirements of those agencies. Between July 2021 and April 2022, when the 46th Parliament ended, the Committee maintained a very high pace of activity despite the impacts of COVID lockdowns across many jurisdictions. In those nine months, Deputy Speaker, the Committee worked in a bipartisan manner across 21 inquiries and presented 17 reports. Over the review period, the PJCIS completed work on 4 statutory reviews, 7 bill inquiries, 2 administration and expenditure reviews, and three reviews of terrorist listings under the criminal code. This reflects the significant increase in matters referred to and required of the Committee over recent years. Moreover, during the period, 4 new acts included amendments to the Intelligence Services Act, adding further to the functions of the Committee. During the period, the Committee also worked on two general policy inquiries referred by ministers. These examined the national security risks affecting Australia, Australia’s higher education and research sector, and extremist movements and radicalism in Australia. With recent legislative changes, we continue to see the evolution of the intelligence community. It is crucial, Deputy Speaker, that parliamentary oversight through the PJCIS similarly evolves to keep up with the intelligence sector and its work. Ensuring that the legislation which enables this Committee’s work is fit for purpose is essential in this regard. The Committee therefore looks forward to the opportunity to review the Intelligence Services Act during the 47th Parliament with a view to assessing where it should be updated. We know the operations of the PJCIS are central to ensuring accountability and providing oversight of Australia’s intelligence agencies. The Committee has and will continue to take this role seriously as we look to safeguard the interests of all Australians. On behalf of the Committee, I wish to thank all those who made contributions to the various inquiries and reviews undertaken over that period of 2021 to April 2022, that financial year, and I acknowledge the work of the former Committee and my predecessor, who was Chair at the time, Senator James Paterson, in leading that work. Mr. Deputy Speaker, I commend the report to the House.