The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security provides independent assurance for the Prime Minister, senior ministers and Parliament as to whether Australia's intelligence and security agencies act legally and with propriety by inspecting, inquiring into and reporting on their activities.
Public statement by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security
The Office of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security does not usually comment or provide information on particular approaches made to it. Matters raised with the office are usually confidential, and often are concerned with national security. Further, to breach the confidence of individual complainants could deter others from raising important concerns with the office.
The Inspector-General of Security Act 1986 requires that inquiries be conducted in private. There are also strict secrecy provisions.
In light of recent media reporting I would like to confirm that, to the best of my knowledge, no current or former ASIS officer has raised concerns with this office about any alleged Australian Government activity with respect to East Timor since my appointment in April 2010.
I have spoken to my predecessor and he has confirmed that, to the best of his recollection, no current or former ASIS officer raised concerns with this office about any alleged Australian Government activity with respect to East Timor during his term as IGIS and he had no discussion with any former or current ASIS officer about any such concerns.
The practice of this office is to make detailed records of any concerns raised with it, whether the concerns are raised in writing or orally, and regardless of whether the concerns are in jurisdiction or followed up. A search of our records since 2004 has revealed no record of any former or current ASIS officer having raised concerns with us about alleged Australian Government activity in East Timor.
Where I decide not to inquire into, or not to inquire further into, a matter to which a complaint relates in respect of action taken by an intelligence agency, I am required to inform the responsible Minister and head of the agency accordingly. I have reviewed those advices provided to the Minister for Foreign Affairs in respect of complaints made about ASIS since 2004 and can confirm that there are no references to complaints made about alleged Australian Government activities in East Timor.
Dr Vivienne Thom
Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security
6 December 2013
ASIS Weapons Inquiry
On 15 April 2013, I initiated an inquiry into the provision of weapons and the training in and use of weapons and self-defence techniques by the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS). The inquiry has been completed and on 29 November 2013 the final report was provided to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. The final report contains classified material making its distribution limited but the Minister has agreed to the public release of the unclassified executive summary - Docx 1MB | PDF 30KB
Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security
29 November 2013
Public interest disclosures
The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (PID Act) commences on 15 January 2014.
The legislation creates a public interest disclosure scheme that promotes integrity and accountability in the Australian public sector. It does this by:
- encouraging and facilitating the disclosure of information by public officials about suspected wrongdoing in the public sector
- ensuring that public officials who make public interest disclosures are supported and protected from adverse consequences
- ensuring that disclosures by public officials are properly investigated and dealt with.
The PID scheme covers all of the agencies within the Australian Intelligence Community (ASIO, ASIS, DSD, DIGO, DIO and ONA) and the Office of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security.
The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has responsibilities under the scheme, including:
- receiving and, where appropriate, investigating disclosures about suspected wrongdoing within the intelligence agencies
- assisting current and former public officials who belong, or had previously belonged, to intelligence agencies in relation to the operation of the Act
- providing intelligence agencies with assistance in relation to public interest disclosures, including through education and awareness programs
- monitoring the operation of the PID Act in intelligence agencies.
Disclosures about suspected wrongdoing in the Australian Intelligence Community or in OIGIS, which include intelligence information*, must only be made directly to an authorised officer in the intelligence agency concerned, to your supervisor or to an authorised officer in OIGIS.
External disclosures must not consist of, or include, intelligence information* and must not relate to the conduct of an intelligence agency. Emergency disclosures and disclosures to a legal practitioner must not consist of, or include, intelligence information*.
(Note *: Section 41 of the PID Act provides a comprehensive definition of ‘intelligence information’).
General information about the PID scheme is available on the website of the Commonwealth Ombudsman:
Further information and guidance material on how to make a public interest disclosure to the OIGIS will be published on this website closer to the commencement date of the scheme.