Wednesday, 9 May 2018
Home Affairs and Integrity Agencies Legislation Amendment Bill 2017; In Committee
The Greens will support Senator Patrick's amendment because, of course, it will improve oversight of Australia's intelligence and security agencies.
On the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security: I acknowledge the comments made by Senator McAllister and I acknowledge that there is a bill currently on the Notice Paper which proposes to make changes to the way the PJCIS is structured and operates. When this was debated in the previous parliament, the Australian Greens moved an amendment that a senator from the crossbench be included on the PJCIS. I want to remind Senator McAllister of that and note that the crossbench in the Senate is increasing in size, election by election. The Australian Greens have a very clear view, given the ongoing increase in powers and authority of Australia's intelligence and security agencies, that the crossbench in the Senate ought to be represented on the PJCIS. I hope that Labor brings forward the legislation for debate at some stage in the current parliament, and I can give informal notice today that, again, we would seek to amend that legislation to provide for a crossbench seat on the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security.
But because it will increase scrutiny and oversight of Australia's intelligence and security agencies at a time when on an ongoing basis their powers are being increased and concentrated, we believe that Senator Patrick's amendment is a sensible amendment. We've always supported stronger parliamentary oversight and we will do so today by supporting Senator Patrick's amendment.