25 September 2023

Intelligence Office to head to PM’s

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A Parliamentary Committee examining legislation establishing a new Office of National Intelligence (ONI) has recommended it be set up within the Prime Minister’s portfolio.

Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, Andrew Hastie MP (pictured), said the Committee examined how the proposed legislation reflected the recommendations from the Independent Intelligence Review.

Mr Hastie said it also looked at the powers and functions conferred on ONI and questioned whether the legislation affected the existing roles and statutory functions of other Australian Intelligence Agencies.

He said the ONI would have two key roles — managing Australia’s national intelligence enterprise, and producing national and strategic intelligence assessments.

“ONI will also be the principal advisory Agency to the Prime Minister on intelligence matters,” Mr Hastie said.

“Overall, the Committee considers the Bills achieve the recommendations set out in the Independent Intelligence Review.”

He said the creation of ONI would lead to a better coordinated and more integrated national intelligence community.

The Committee made six recommendations aimed at improving transparency and accountability by ensuring ONI’s privacy rules were made public; requiring the Prime Minister to consult with the Privacy Commissioner when making privacy rules for ONI; and preventing the Director-General of National Intelligence from delegating his or her powers to authorise ONI to engage with foreign partners.

The Committee’s 55-page report can be accessed at this PS News link.

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