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Under the IGIS Act, the IGIS can conduct an inquiry into a matter based on a complaint, of the IGIS's own motion, or in response to a ministerial request. The Act establishes certain immunities and protections and provides for the use of strong coercive powers in such inquiries. These include the power to compel the production of information and documents, to enter premises occupied or used by a Commonwealth agency, to issue notices to persons to attend before the IGIS to answer questions relevant to the matter under inquiry, and the IGIS to administer an oath or affirmation when taking evidence.

When coercive powers are used, the IGIS Act provides protections to people who have given the IGIS information. Those compelled to give information are protected from any penalty under Commonwealth or Territory law that would ordinarily arise from disclosing that information.

The responsible minister is advised when the IGIS begins an inquiry into a particular agency, and is also advised of any conclusions or recommendations arising from the inquiry. The IGIS also provides opportunities for ministers, agency heads and affected individuals to comment during the course of an inquiry.

Inquiry into the management of weapons by ASIS in a particular location

During 2014–15 the Inspector-General completed one inquiry that had commenced in June 2014 into the management of weapons by ASIS in a particular location. It is not possible to publish further details of this inquiry as to do so could prejudice security or Australia's relations with other countries. ASIS agreed to all thirteen of the report's recommendations. ASIS reported its progress in implementation of the recommendations and the Inspector-General was satisfied that senior management had taken actions that demonstrated a strong commitment to reform.

Inquiry into certain ASD actions

In February 2015 the Inspector-General initiated an inquiry into certain actions of ASD. The report was finalised shortly after the end of the reporting period. It will be further addressed in the next annual report.