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Frequently Asked Questions

The Independent National Security Legislation Monitor (‘the Monitor’) independently reviews national security and counter-terrorism legislation, and makes recommendations to Parliament to amend this legislation based on their findings. The Monitor can choose to conduct a self-initiated review if they decide a piece of legislation within their jurisdiction requires consideration, or they may be asked to conduct a review by the Prime Minister, the Attorney-General, or the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS). The Monitor is also required to undertake certain reviews by the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor Act 2010 (‘INSLM Act’). When a review is completed, the Monitor provides a report to the Attorney-General, who then has either fifteen parliamentary sitting days, or thirty calendar days (whichever is sooner) to table the report in Parliament.

The Monitor is an independent statutory officer appointed by the Governor-General under the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor Act 2010 (‘INSLM Act’). The Monitor is not subject to direction in how they conduct their reviews or what recommendations they make. The INSLM Act provides the Monitor with authority and power to conduct reviews independently. The Prime Minister can give the Monitor a direction as to the order in which he or she is to deal with matters referred to them. 

The INSLM Act provides the Monitor with similar powers to a Royal Commission. This means the Monitor has the authority to:

  • independently hold private and public hearings; 
  • compel a person to attend a hearing in order to give evidence; 
  • compel a person to provide documents or other material for their review; 
  • compel a witness to take an oath or affirmation; and
  • take possession or make copies of any relevant information or documents they receive during a review.

During reviews, the Monitor usually receives and considers evidence from a range of civil society groups and individuals as well as government agencies. The Monitor’s reports and recommendations are tabled in Parliament.

The INSLM Office is a specialised law-reform body focused on national security and counter-terrorism legislation. Reviews consider the operation, effectiveness and implications of the relevant law, whether it contains appropriate protections for individual rights, remains necessary and proportionate and whether it is consistent with Australia’s international obligations. The Monitor’s reports often recommend changes to laws. These reports are tabled in Parliament and it is ultimately up to the Parliament whether to make legislative changes.

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS), on the other hand, does not have law reform function, but looks at the legality and propriety of operations undertaken by Australia’s intelligence and security agencies – operations conducted under existing laws. The IGIS undertakes inspections and conducts inquiries into the actions of the intelligence and security agencies, and can investigate complaints and public interest disclosures relating to these agencies. More information about the IGIS can be found on the IGIS website.

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (the PJCIS) is a parliamentary committee. Its functions include reviewing the administration and expenditure of the intelligence and security agencies and examining national security bills (proposed pieces of legislation) introduced to Parliament. It is not uncommon for the PJCIS to recommend that bills granting new powers to security and intelligence agencies include a requirement that the Monitor review how the law is operating, usually three years after it becomes law. This enables the Monitor to look at how the law has worked in practice and, if necessary, make recommendations to improve it. More information about the PJCIS can be found on the PJCIS website.

The INSLM Act does not include a complaints function, which means the Monitor is not able to receive or respond to complaints, including about national security matters or the actions of intelligence or security organisations. The Monitor’s remit is to review existing national security legislation and make recommendations to Parliament about ways this legislation could be improved. If you wish to make a complaint or a public interest disclosure about a national security or law enforcement agency you will find information about complaint processes and public interest disclosure processes on the IGIS website and the Commonwealth Ombudsman website. The Australian Human Rights Commission can also assist with complaints about discrimination and human rights matters, though must refer such matters to IGIS if they concern an intelligence agency. 

When conducting a review into a piece of legislation, the Monitor asks for submissions from relevant groups, government departments, other organisations and the wider community. If you would like to make a submission, please see the “current reviews” page of this website for advice about which national security legislation is currently under review and how you can make a submission. 

Law making and law reform are inherently public processes. The Monitor makes as much of their work available to the public as possible, including through hearings, roundtables and meetings with community groups, media engagements and by publishing their review reports, recommendations and annual reports. Some parts of the Monitor’s work do require a level of confidentiality as sometimes sensitive or classified information is considered in the course of a review which cannot be made public, but the Monitor strives to make as much public as is possible. Information about the Monitor’s work can be found on this website. If you are having trouble accessing a particular document or report, please contact the INSLM Office via email on

The Monitor seeks a wide range of views about the operation, effects and impact of national security legislation when conducting a review. They engage with organisations, individuals and government agencies in a number of different ways, including round table events (with a summary usually being published afterwards) and meetings. The Monitor also receives written correspondence and submissions to reviews; where the submitter gives permission, these are published on the relevant review page. Many of the reviews conducted to date have included a public hearing, which is often a useful way to collect information and enable the wider community to see the Monitor’s review process in action. Recent public reviews have been livestreamed and links to transcripts are available on the relevant review pages.

Upon completing a review the Monitor provides a report to the Attorney-General, who must table it in Parliament within thirty calendar days or fifteen parliamentary sitting days (whichever is soonest). These reports provide details of the Monitor’s consultation process and their findings on the operation, effectiveness and implications of the legislation under review. They often recommend changes to laws.  The report is tabled in Parliament for wider consideration and it is ultimately up to the Parliament whether to make legislative changes.

There have been five Monitors since the INSLM Office was first established in 2010: Mr Bret Walker SC, the Hon Roger Gyles AO KC, Dr James Renwick AM CSC SC and Mr Grant Donaldson SC, who all held the role in a part-time capacity. The fifth and current Monitor, Mr Jake Blight, commenced as the first full-time Monitor in November 2023.

The Monitor is supported by a small team and sits within the Attorney-General’s Portfolio.

INSLM staff are generally employed under the Public Service Act 1999, though there is provision for staff who are employed under other Commonwealth laws to be made available to the Monitor under section 33 of the INSLM Act.

When positions are available they are advertised on APS Jobs. This may include ongoing and non-ongoing positions. In addition, summer placements will be advertised for law students who are close to completing their degree or have recently graduated.