Thursday, 28 June 2018
National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill 2018; In Committee
Obviously, Senator Patrick, the intelligence agencies work with other agencies. Of course the AFP works with other agencies; they work with prosecutors and the like to enforce the law. This provides different offences—stronger offences in many cases—for certain activities. That obviously makes it more likely that certain types of activity are captured under our criminal law. Therefore the AFP can investigate that, potentially lay charges and pass it over to relevant prosecutors. In relation to your earlier question about oversight, even though this doesn't actually give any additional powers to our intelligence agencies, there is additional financial support for oversight. So the government provided $52.1 million in the budget to augment the Office of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security. Obviously, that is something we take very seriously. So, whilst this doesn't give additional powers as such to our intelligence agencies, we do take that oversight very seriously in the context of this type of legislation.