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Independent National Security Legislation Monitor Annual Report 2022-2023

  • Report
Publication date
Prepared by
Mr Grant Donaldson SC

This annual report relates to the period between 1 July 2022 and 30 June 2023.

INSLM Annual Report 2022-23 cover
  1. Section 29 of the of the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor Act 2010 (Cth) (INSLM Act) requires that I report on the performance of the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor’s (INSLM) functions, set out in s 6(1)(a) and (b), for the year ending 30 June 2023. I have served as INSLM since 26 November 2020.
  2. Sections 6(1)(a) and (b) (broadly) require the INSLM to review the operation, effectiveness and implications of Australia’s counter-terrorism and national security legislation, and other laws of the Commonwealth that relate to them. In doing this, the INSLM is to consider whether such laws contain appropriate safeguards for protecting the rights of individuals, remain proportionate to any threat of terrorism or threat to national security, and remain necessary.
  3. In January 2023, the Government released its response to my recommendations in my review into Part 3, Division 1 of the National Security Information (Criminal and Civil Proceedings) Act 2004 (Cth) (NSI Act) as it applies in the ‘Alan Johns’ matter (the Alan Johns Review). The Government indicated that it supported my recommendations, and would implement the changes after the completion of my review of the NSI Act, to which I refer below.
  4. On 3 March 2023, I completed my review into Division 105A (and related provisions) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) (Div 105A Review) and submitted it to the Attorney-General. During March, my Office also supported the visit to Australia by Mr Jonathan Hall KC, the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation for the United Kingdom.
  5. On 18 April 2023, the Chief Justice of the ACT Supreme Court published a summarised version of the sentencing remarks of the trial judge in the Alan Johns matter. I am pleased that this finally occurred, though am astonished at the time that it took. Publication of these remarks has been an important step in correcting a terrible failure in the administration of justice and an unwarranted abrogation of the principle of open justice. INSLM Annual Report 2022-2023
  6. On 30 October 2023, I completed my report into the operation and effectiveness of the NSI Act (NSI Act Review).
  7. In my capacity as INSLM, I travelled overseas to the UK and Ireland for consultations with senior government officials, academic and other experts. I delivered the keynote address at the ‘Oversight of National Security in Ireland: Lessons from Australia & the UK’ conference hosted by the University of Galway. The conference was convened to examine the establishment of the Office of the Independent Examiner of Security Legislation for Ireland.
  8. I also participated in various official engagements, round-tables, and seminars throughout Australia.
  9. The INSLM role cannot be performed alone. Throughout the reporting period, I have received invaluable support from the 3 full-time staff of the INSLM office including; a Principal Adviser (Mark Mooney), an Executive Officer, and Adviser. I have also been assisted in both the review of Div 105A Review and the NSI Act Review by external counsel and solicitors.
  10. The total budget for the Financial Year 2022-23 was $1.472m.
  11. As in previous years, the Attorney-General's Department (AGD) has made available office and corporate support such as IT, payroll, and security for which I am grateful.
  12. I congratulate Mr Jake Blight on his appointment as INSLM to succeed me, and wish him every success.

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