Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

Primary content

A Bill for an Act to provide for security background checks of Ministers of State, and for related purposes
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Registered 12 Feb 2019
Introduced Senate 12 Feb 2019

2016‑2017‑2018‑2019

 

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

 

THE SENATE

 

 

 

 

Presented and read a first time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ministers of State (Checks for Security Purposes) Bill 2019

 

No.      , 2019

 

(Senator Patrick)

 

 

 

A Bill for an Act to provide for security background checks of Ministers of State, and for related purposes

  

  

  


Contents

Part 1—Preliminary                                                                                                             1

1............ Short title............................................................................................. 1

2............ Commencement................................................................................... 2

3............ Simplified outline of this Act.............................................................. 2

4............ Definitions.......................................................................................... 2

Part 2—Reporting requirements                                                                                  4

5............ Reports on security matters................................................................. 4

6............ Status of reports by the Director‑General............................................ 5

7............ Safeguarding of reports....................................................................... 5

8............ Reports prepared at the direction of a previous Prime Minister........... 6

 


A Bill for an Act to provide for security background checks of Ministers of State, and for related purposes

The Parliament of Australia enacts:

Part 1Preliminary

  

1  Short title

                   This Act is the Ministers of State (Checks for Security Purposes) Act 2019.

2  Commencement

             (1)  Each provision of this Act specified in column 1 of the table commences, or is taken to have commenced, in accordance with column 2 of the table. Any other statement in column 2 has effect according to its terms.

 

Commencement information

Column 1

Column 2

Column 3

Provisions

Commencement

Date/Details

1.  Sections 1 and 2

The day this Act receives the Royal Assent.

 

2. Sections 3 to 7

A single day to be fixed by Proclamation.

However, if the provisions do not commence within the period of 3 months beginning on the day this Act receives the Royal Assent, they commence on the day after the end of that period.

 

Note:          This table relates only to the provisions of this Act as originally enacted. It will not be amended to deal with any later amendments of this Act.

             (2)  Any information in column 3 of the table is not part of this Act. Information may be inserted in this column, or information in it may be edited, in any published version of this Act.

3  Simplified outline of this Act

This Act creates an obligation for the Prime Minister to direct the Director‑General of Security to provide a report on any security matters arising from examination of the personal background and circumstances of Ministers of State.

4  Definitions

                   In this Act:

ASIO employee has the same meaning as in the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979.

Director‑General has the same meaning as in the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979.

Minister of State has the same meaning as in the Ministers of State Act 1952.

security has the same meaning as in the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979.

Part 2Reporting requirements

  

5  Reports on security matters

             (1)  The Prime Minister must, not later than 14 days after the appointment of a Minister of State (excluding the Prime Minister), direct the Director‑General to provide a report on matters relating to security arising from examination of the personal background and circumstances of the Minister of State.

             (2)  The Prime Minister must, not later than 14 days after commencement of this Act, direct the Director‑General to provide a report on matters relating to security arising from examination of the personal background and circumstances of all current Ministers of State.

             (3)  A direction made by the Prime Minister to the Director‑General under this section must be made in writing.

             (4)  The Director‑General must, for the purposes of preparing a report concerning a Minister of State, obtain information and undertake inquiries that are equivalent to the information and inquiries required for the clearance for security purposes of ASIO employees.

             (5)  The Director‑General may in writing authorise an ASIO employee to obtain information and undertake inquiries on behalf of the Director‑General (authorised ASIO employee) for the purposes of preparing the report or any additional report.

             (6)  A Minister of State must provide the Director‑General any information requested by the Director‑General or an authorised ASIO employee for the purposes of preparing the report for the Prime Minister.

Note:          A person may commit an offence if the person provides false or misleading information or documents in relation to reports on matters relating to security (see sections 137.1 and 137.2 of the Criminal Code).

             (7)  Where the Director‑General has provided the Prime Minister with a report in relation to a Minister of State, the Prime Minister may direct the Director‑General to obtain further information and provide an additional report.

             (8)  The Director‑General must provide a report or an additional report relating to a Minister of State to the Prime Minister:

                     (a)  in writing; and

                     (b)  within 120 days of the day the Prime Minister directed that the report be prepared.

             (9)  A report or an additional report prepared under this section must only contain information and advice that is strictly relevant to matters relating to security.

6  Status of reports by the Director‑General

                   A report or additional report made by the Director‑General under section 5 is not a security assessment made under Part IV of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979.

7  Safeguarding of reports

             (1)  The Prime Minister must return a report or additional report to the Director‑General when the report is no longer required by the Prime Minister, or in the event that the Prime Minister ceases to hold office.

             (2)  The Director‑General is responsible for ensuring that reports, additional reports and all information obtained in the course of making inquiries under section 5 are only used for the purposes of this Act.

             (3)  The Director‑General must make arrangements to ensure that reports, additional reports and all information obtained in the course of making inquiries under section 5 are held securely within the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and are only accessed by ASIO employees with specific written authorisation from the Director‑General.

8  Reports prepared at the direction of a previous Prime Minister

                   The Director‑General must provide the Prime Minister with a report or additional report, which was prepared at the direction of a previous Prime Minister if:

                     (a)  the report or additional report is requested by the Prime Minister; and

                     (b)  the report or additional report concerns a currently serving Minister.