They’re supposed to be covert operatives, but the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation certainly made its presence felt when its Canberra staff moved into swanky new offices in our nation’s capital last year. The Inspector General of Intelligence and Security, Vivienne Thom, notes in her annual report to the government that after ASIO moved into the offices, someone complained to her office in March this year that alarms kept going off and waking everyone up. The angry neighbour told her:

“I have found it hard to find someone who actually cares about the problem as there doesn’t appear to be anyone in the actual building when I have gone down there when the alarms are going off. … This problem has gone on for the last year and must not be allowed to continue.”

The neighbour said that there must be a fault, or the operators “were incompetent”. ASIO did not respond to neighbours’ concerns, but after IGIS investigated, found ASIO was working to address the matter.

It has since been fixed, but now IGIS has asked the Commonwealth Ombudsman to investigate whether the Department of Finance, as the owner of the building, and the National Capital Authority, as the body responsible for the building, acted reasonably to stop the noisy alarms.

Peter Fray

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