NSWCCL has made a submission to the senate committee inquiring into the Government’s proposal to abolish the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor (INSLM) as part of its ‘red tape bonfire’.
The INSLM is an important independent position set up in 2010 with broad review functions relating to the intensely sensitive and complex area of counter-terrorism laws: whether these laws remain proportionate to the threat of terrorism in Australia and whether they contain appropriate safeguards to protect the rights of individuals.
Over the last three years the Monitor has contributed greatly to the understanding of Australia’s counter-terrorism legislation and has recommended important reforms to this legislation.
It is most inappropriate that such a significant statutory role was proposed for repeal in this covert way without forewarning, substantive rationale or public consultation.
The INSLM’s work is not finished and will not be until the ‘extraordinary’ counter-terrorism legislation is repealed. This will be a big issue in 2016 when relevant sunset clauses will again come into play for some of these laws. The Government is also likely to revisit major proposals for expansion of the national security legislation provisions, including controversial data retention proposals. Post the Snowden revelations about the scope of covert cyber surveillance of non-suspects and mass data collection –these proposals are likely to be even more controversial when they resurface.
The INSLM will be needed as an independent and informed balancing source of advice to the Government and Parliament - and to the wider community - on these issues.
NSWCCL has again recommended that the Government reconsider its position and withdraw the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor Repeal Bill 2014 [Provisions]