The environment in which Australia’s National Security and Intelligence Agencies operate is a complex and rapidly evolving one. Recent events such as the Boston bombings and the murder of a British Soldier on the streets of London remind us of the impact of terrorist attacks and the continued need for the Government and its Security and Intelligence Agencies to maintain vigilance, preparedness for and defence against terrorist attacks.
The Committee recognises the need for our Security and Intelligence Agencies to be appropriately resourced and to be granted powers, which are often intrusive, to carry out their work. However, these intrusive powers must always be balanced by appropriate safeguards for the privacy of individuals and the community recognising that Australia is a democratic nation which values personal freedom and places limits on the Power of the State.
The Inquiry into the reforms proposed by the Attorney General was one of the most complex and controversial inquiries ever undertaken by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (the Committee).