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Activity 5: Advice to parliamentary committees and others

Providing advice to parliamentary committees and others on oversight issues relating to intelligence agency powers and functions

Introduction

The IGIS is invited on a regular basis to participate in the proceedings of parliamentary committees and other similar bodies.

Quantitative performance measures

There were no quantitative performance measures identified in the OIGIS Corporate Plan 2015–19 that were directly applicable to the advice we provided to parliamentary committees and similar bodies.

During the reporting period the IGIS appeared at two parliamentary committee hearings, provided two written submissions to a parliamentary committee, reviewed material presented to a coronial inquest and contributed to an independent statutory review of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013.

Discussion

Senate estimates hearings

The Inspector-General appeared before the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration on 22 February 2016 during the 2015–16 Additional Estimates hearings.

Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security

The Inspector-General participated in two inquiries conducted by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security during 2015–16:

  • on 10 December 2015 the IGIS made a submission to the Inquiry into the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2015
  • on 20 January 2016 the IGIS made a submission to the Review of Administration and Expenditure No. 14 (2014–15) and appeared before the committee at a private hearing on 5 May 2016.

Lindt Café siege coronial inquest

The Inspector-General has reviewed evidence put to the coronial inquest into the Lindt Café siege being presided over by the New South Wales State Coroner, Magistrate Michael Barnes. The purpose was to determine if there was a need for this office to investigate any aspect of the matters. No such need was identified.

Statutory review of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013

The Government appointed the former Integrity Commissioner, Mr Philip Moss AM, to conduct a review of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (PID Act) on 15 January 2016. This appointment was made in accordance with the requirement of section 82A of the PID Act, that a review of the operation of the PID Act be undertaken two years after it had commenced.

Mr Moss invited the Inspector-General to contribute to this review, as the IGIS is an investigative body for the purposes of the PID Act and is also responsible for overseeing the operation of the scheme in the Australian Intelligence Community (AIC).

The IGIS lodged a submission on 18 March 2016. A copy of the IGIS submission can be found on the IGIS website www.igis.gov.au/public-statements/submissions

The submission reflected the thoughts of the Inspector-General on practical issues and concerns with the operation of the PID Act in its first two years of operation, as well as comments and input from AIC agencies.

The Inspector-General and relevant staff were also consulted by Mr Moss and his secretariat as they developed their final report.