New Commonwealth Act for Administration of the Home Affairs Portfolio

Monday 14 May 2018 @ 10.31 a.m. | Legal Research

The Home Affairs and Integrity Agencies Legislation Amendment Act 2018 (‘the Act’) was assented to on 9 May 2018. This Act is for the purpose of allocating certain ministerial powers related to the new Home Affairs portfolio and also to make changes related to the Attorney-General’s oversight of intelligence, security and law enforcement agencies.


This Bill was originally introduced in 2017 as part of a wide-ranging overhaul of the current legislation related to security and espionage. For more information on the overhaul package, please read Timebase’s earlier articles here and here. The Bill for this Act was originally referred to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, which recommended that the Bill be passed subject to four recommendations. For more information on the recommendations, please read TimeBase’s earlier article.

Main Amendments

The Act makes the following key amendments:

  • Amendment of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth) in order to ensure that the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and other intelligence agencies can continue to disclose Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) information to the Attorney-General in support of their functions following the establishment of the Home Affairs portfolio;
  • Amendment of the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor Act 2010 (Cth) (‘the INSLM Act’) to enable the Prime Minister and the Minister administering the INSLM Act to continue to refer matters relating to counter-terrorism or national security to the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor and receive relevant reports;
  • Amendment of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Act 1986 (Cth) (‘the IGIS Act’)  to enable the Minister administering the IGIS Act to request the Inspector-General to inquire into a matter and receive relevant reports and to enable the Prime Minister and the Minister administering the IGIS Act to direct the Inspector-General to conduct additional inquiries and receive subsequent reports;
  • Amendment of the Intelligence Services Act 2001 (Cth) to clarify that responsibility for agreeing to security-related Ministerial authorisations will remain with the Attorney-General, and to require the Ministers responsible for ASIO and ASIS to consult the Attorney-General prior to making written guidelines.

In her second reading speech in the Senate on 9 May 2018, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells noted that the changes were for the purpose of adapting to changes in technology:

‘New threats are emerging which did not exist when the security architecture was designed in the 1970s. Others have evolved to be barely recognisable from what we knew back then. Much of this evolution has been enabled by technology. The reforms mean that our national security system will be stronger, more resilient and more responsive.’ 

TimeBase is an independent, privately owned Australian legal publisher specialising in the online delivery of accurate, comprehensive and innovative legislation research tools including LawOne and unique Point-in-Time Products. Nothing on this website should be construed as legal advice and does not substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.


Home Affairs and Integrity Agencies Legislation Amendment Act 2018 (Cth), and associated Bill, second reading speech and explanatory memorandum, as published on TimeBase LawOne.

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