Human Rights Commissioner welcomes independent national security monitor

The Australian Human Rights Commission has welcomed the Government's commitment to appoint an independent national security monitor.

Human Rights Commissioner, Cathy Branson, said the passage of the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor Bill would help strengthen Australia's human rights protections.

“This legislation means that a Monitor will be in place with the important role of safeguarding the protection of individual rights and liberties,” Ms Branson said.

“The Commission has consistently argued that Australia's national security legislation should not infringe fundamental human rights.

“Importantly, the Monitor will review whether national security legislation is consistent with Australia's international human rights obligations as well as review and report on the operation and effectiveness of national security legislation.”

Ms Branson said the Commission looked forward to working with the monitor in ensure Australian national security laws protected human rights and were consisted with human rights obligations.

Special Minister of State, Senator Joe Ludwig, said the Government expects to announce the appointment of the new Monitor shortly.

“The Independent National Security Legislation Monitor will review and report on the operation, effectiveness and implications of Australia’s counter‑terrorism and national security legislation on an ongoing basis,” Senator Ludwig said.

“This reflects the Government’s commitment to ensure Australia has strong counter-terrorism laws that protect the security of Australians, while preserving the values and freedoms that are part of our way of life.”

Attorney-General Robert McClelland said the Government was seeking to achieve an appropriate balance between the responsibility to protect Australia while instilling confidence in the community that national security and counter-terrorism laws will be exercised in an accountable way in accordance with the rule of law.

“An independent reviewer will play an important role in striking this necessary balance and I am proud to be able to facilitate the passage of this legislation,” Mr McClelland said.

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