Senate debates

Thursday, 2 September 2021


Independent National Security Legislation Monitor Amendment Bill 2021; Second Reading

1:27 pm

Photo of Eric AbetzEric Abetz (Tasmania, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

[by video link] The Independent National Security Legislation Monitor Amendment Bill 2021 is an important piece of legislation that the parliament is quite right to consider at this time. On the 70th anniversary of our alliance with the United States and a few days away from the 20th commemoration of 9/11, it is appropriate for us to reconsider the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor legislation which was passed some 11 years ago. The role of the monitor is to see whether our legislative framework remains appropriate for the current threat environment and whether we are achieving the objective of protecting our national security whilst also—and this is very important to me—upholding the rights and freedoms of individuals. That is a balancing act that is so important.

When this legislation first started some 11 years ago, the monitor was a part-time position, there was no real staffing support and there was only a requirement for an annual report to the parliament. This legislation suggests that the monitor should be able to, of their own volition, hold inquiries and also take referrals from the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, on which I have the privilege of serving, as well as from the Attorney-General. These are very important developments as we continue to evolve and adapt ourselves to the ever-changing security environment. The first task of government, at all times, is to ensure the security of our nation and our borders and the internal protection within the borders of our peoples. This is just part of the overall framework, which is just so vitally important. I note the time, Madam Acting Deputy President, and understand I will soon be required to conclude. You are undoubtedly telling me that now. I seek leave to continue my remarks.


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