Senate debates

Monday, 16 October 2017


Australian Border Force Amendment (Protected Information) Bill 2017; Second Reading

10:47 am

Photo of Michaelia CashMichaelia Cash (WA, Liberal Party, Minister for Women) Share this | Hansard source

I thank all senators for their contribution to the debate on the Australian Border Force Amendment (Protected Information) Bill 2017. Part 6 of the Australian Border Force Act 2015 regulates the protection and disclosure of information held by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. The Australian Border Force Amendment (Protected Information) Bill amends part 6 and related provisions to clarify the original intent of the legislation, which is to prevent the unauthorised disclosure of information that could cause harm to the national or public interest.

The aim of the measures in this bill is to ensure that immigration and border protection information is not only provided with the necessary level of protection in a targeted manner but is also able to be disclosed when it is appropriate to do so. The bill provides assurances for the Australian public, business, government and foreign partners that sensitive information provided to the department will be appropriately protected.

The bill acknowledges the balancing of the competing interests of transparent, open and accountable government with the necessary interest of protecting information from disclosure which would lead to identifiable harm. The retrospective application of the bill, backdated to the enactment of the Australian Border Force Act 2015, will provide the necessary certainty that only information which could harm the national or public interest if disclosed is to be protected and will be regarded as ever having been protected under the Australian Border Force Act. With those comments, I commend the bill to the Senate.


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