National Security Bill Proposes ASD to Perform Domestic Espionage in Specific Situations | Canberra weather

federal politics, news, john blaxland, karen andrews, asio, asd, national security, stoltz

The laws proposed to expand and streamline Australia’s espionage and intelligence operations will allow agencies to collect intelligence on Australians in the country in response to a landmark review released last year. But while experts say the changes will not result in a nationwide spy regime of Snowden proportions, they have warned that more obscure intelligence agencies need “a dose of the sun” to increase public confidence in privacy protections further deteriorated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Home Secretary Karen Andrews introduced yet another national security bill to the lower house on Thursday morning that would implement a number of the changes proposed in a review by the former ASIO boss , Dennis Richardson. The bill, which amends nine pieces of legislation, would allow the Australian Signals Branch to collect signals intelligence on Australians abroad without the need for a warrant if there is an imminent risk to life. It will also provide the Signals Agency with the ability to receive ministerial authorization to collect intelligence on a group of suspected terrorist suspects in Australia, as well as to work in conjunction with the Australian Defense Force on military operations also with a ministerial authorization. “The measures I have outlined in the bill are designed to address or alleviate the critical operational challenges facing the national intelligence community,” Ms. Andrews said. “This reflects the government’s commitment to continuous improvement of Australia’s robust national security laws to keep Australians safe and our way of life protected.” The agencies, which also include the ASIO, the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organization and the foreign-focused Australian Secret Intelligence Service, will be required to publicly post the privacy policies on their sites. The parliamentary security and intelligence committee will be able to examine and scrutinize these rules of confidentiality. It comes more than three years after former News Corp reporter Annika Smethurst reported a memo leak between senior officials discussing the granting of extraordinary powers to listen to warrantless Australians. Ms Smethurst was raided the following year, with the alleged perpetrator of the leaked document. Police dropped the charges last year. National Security College policy adviser Dr William Stoltz said these proposals were very different from the original plans for ASDs first reported by Ms Smethurst in 2018. Narrow scope of powers to be used only in potentially events mortals made them proportionate, he said. noted. “These are really those urgent, life and death, urgent enough times when you need an ASD to be able, within hours, to gather information,” said Dr Stoltz. “Because doing it the established way, which is in close partnership with other agencies, takes a little too much time and time. But her colleague at Australian National University, Professor John Blaxland, said the federal government and the national intelligence community needed to be more transparent to ensure greater public confidence in the powerful laws being proposed. The general public had developed a “bruised and damaged image” of national security concerns following the raids on Ms Smethurst, he said. READ MORE: Offering sweeping powers coupled with a recent rise in mistrust of authority could push some further into the arms of extremist fringe groups. “If we want to avoid adding to the momentum of the conspiracy cause, we must give [them] a dose of sun, ”he said. “The fallout from the Annika Smethurst fiasco has left a bruised and damaged image of impartiality, impartial balance, national security concerns with the demands of an open democratic society. “I think ASD needs to be more transparent, just as ASIO has sought to be more transparent.” Beyond expanding the powers of the signals directorate, the proposed laws will also extend domestic intelligence gathering capabilities to secret intelligence services and the geospatial intelligence agency. The wide range of new powers proposed for intelligence agencies will be given to the relevant Professor Blaxland. While he believes ASIO has made strides in being transparent and assuring the public of the work they do, other agencies remain hidden and shy of public awareness. And while national security has continued to grow dramatically over the past two decades, its oversight body, the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security, has failed to do so. The former director of military intelligence said IGIS needed funds and resources to ensure that national intelligence agencies were doing their jobs properly. “I am a former practitioner, I am a former initiate but having worked on the history of intelligence, I have a much better appreciation of the need for checks and balances,” he said. “Because power tends to corrupt. “My concern is that the legislation we are proposing is written by insiders, it is written with their own concerns in mind. “What I’m saying is that [IGIS oversight] needs to be taken up a notch. “



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