Jun 24, 2014

What’s really happening on national security laws

Mooted reforms to national security legislation need to be seen separately from the Syria/Iraq situation -- and the process by which those reforms are overseen is important, too.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

The looming reforms to national security legislation need to be seen outside the context of the current events in Iraq/Syria, despite the efforts of the government and parts of the media to link the two.

The push to reform national security laws began in earnest in 2012 when then-attorney-general Nicola Roxon asked the Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security to consider a long list of proposals, mainly centred on telecommunications interception and the acts under which intelligence agencies — especially the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation — operated. Some proposals, such as data retention, had been pushed by the Attorney-General’s Department from the moment Labor was elected in 2007, without success. After an extended inquiry, JCIS reported last year, not long before the election.

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