Monday, 18 February 2019
I'd say the same for the chair of the PJCIS, the member for Canning. Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking and being called upon to speak at short notice without having a speech prepared, I did actually want to talk about the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security. First off, I want to acknowledge the great work that the chair of the committee, the member Canning, Andrew Hastie, has done during one of the more tumultuous periods of time that we've had in our nation's parliament.
There was a picture of Andrew and I on the floor of the parliament last week that I proudly hoisted onto my Instagram and Facebook. It was a picture of the chair and I having a discussion about national security matters. Particularly given the public discourse about the lack of bipartisanship that exists in this place—and it's not hard to see that—I hope that if you go to either my website or hopefully the chair's, the member for Canning's, Instagram and Facebook sites, you can see the amount of high regard that we have for each other. We work consistently together for the national interest.
Sitting in here is Dr Anna Dacre, who has laboured tirelessly—and I use the word tirelessly—as the secretary of this committee to deliver a world-class product for the term of this 45th Parliament and beforehand. If people but only knew what happened in that committee over the nearly five years I've been on it as deputy chair since 2013—that's nearly 6 years, I think, goodness gracious me!—they would be much more confident about how resilient our parliament is, how committed each side of politics is to national security, and that it is doing what is required in the national interest. If only we could release the minutes of the meetings we've had—but we can't because we'd breach the Intelligence Services Act. Particularly for people who are listening to this, we have worked together strongly in my six years as deputy chair. I must say, when I was chair of the committee for three years, when Senator Brandis was the opposition spokesperson as Attorney-General, we worked very collaboratively.
The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security is probably one of the best committees in the world for dealing with security legislation. We've been asked to do an enormous amount of work. As I said, it's thanks to the committee secretariat, led by the incredibly capable Dr Anna Dacre—who sadly is going to be leaving us, although the chair and I have tried to make sure she doesn't! We should be very proud of the work that's been done. There is a lot of loose media commentary saying, 'It goes to the committee and it's not looked at.' It's examined. People will look back on this period of time when we brought laws into the parliament to make our nation safer and they will reflect well on the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security. Thank you to all of the people, including the chair, who served on that. We worked together to make our nation safe.