Policy Agenda

Independent National Security Legislation Monitor

The Law Council has long been of the view that, because of the wide-ranging and exceptional character of Australia's anti-terrorism measures, there should be regular and independent review of Australia's national security laws.

Past reviews have been sporadic and incomplete, often leaving out important and controversial laws.

On 18 March 2010, the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor Act 2010 was passed by Parliament. This Act established the position of the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor to review and report on the operation, effectiveness and implications of Australia's counter terrorism and national security legislation on an ongoing basis. The Monitor is also responsible for considering if counter-terrorism and national security laws remain necessary and are proportionate to any threat of terrorism or to national security. The Act responded to a recommendation made by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, the Hon John Clarke QC's Inquiry into the Case of Dr Mohamed Haneef and the Security Legislation Review Committee (Sheller Committee) of 2006.

On 21 April 2011, the Hon. Wayne Swan MP announced that Mr Bret Walker SC had been appointed to the Monitor position. The Law Council welcomed this appointment, which

followed a number of media statements and letters by the Law Council, urging the Government to move swiftly to appoint the Monitor and ensure that whoever was appointed was adequately resourced to fulfil this critical role.

On 19 March 2012, the Prime Minister tabled the Monitor's first report. The Law Council welcomed the report which identified a number of issues the Monitor would examine in 2012 including: questioning and detention powers of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation; criminal procedures regarding terrorism suspects; preventative detention and control orders; key definitions in terrorism offences and the conduct of terrorism trials.

In August 2012, the Monitor commenced a review of questioning and detention warrants, control orders and preventative detention orders. The purpose of this review was to inform the Monitor's second report to the Government which is scheduled to be tabled in March 2013.

View the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor Report.

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