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Appendix I: report of the Independent Reviewer of Adverse Security Assessments

The Independent Reviewer of Adverse Security Assessments, Robert Cornall AO, conducts an independent advisory review of ASIO adverse security assessments (ASAs) furnished to the Department of Home Affairs in respect of eligible persons being persons who:

  • remain in immigration detention, and
  • have been found by Home Affairs to be owed protection obligations under international law, and
  • are ineligible for a permanent protection visa, or have had their permanent protection visa cancelled, because they are the subject of the ASA.

The Independent Reviewer’s terms of reference and other relevant information are available at www.ag.gov.au/asareview.

The Reviewer undertakes a primary review of each adverse security assessment (ASA) which comes within the terms of reference and subsequent periodic reviews every 12 months thereafter while the person remains in detention and ineligible to hold a visa because they are subject to the ASA.

On 1 July 2019, the Independent Reviewer had two adverse security assessments under consideration and another three ASAs were referred to the Reviewer during the course of the year. The Reviewer commenced a primary review in each of the five cases and three reviews were completed before 30 June 2020.

In those three cases, the Reviewer examined all the material ASIO relied on in making the adverse assessment as well as other relevant material including submissions and representations made by the eligible person. In addition, the Reviewer conducted an interview with the eligible person and their legal representative.

The Reviewer also took into account the overall security environment, which is informed by ASIO’s contemporary assessment of security threats, and any changes to the person’s circumstances or ideology during their time in immigration detention.

In the first two completed reviews, the Reviewer found the ASA was an appropriate outcome. However, in each of those cases, the Reviewer recommended that, when ASIO conducts an internal review of the ASA, it gives further consideration to some specified circumstances which may influence the outcome of ASIO’s review.

In the third completed primary review, the Reviewer found that the ASA was an appropriate outcome.

Each of those three adverse assessments will, unless it is withdrawn, be subject to a periodic review during 2020–21.

Where it appears the Reviewer may arrive at an opinion that the ASA was not an appropriate outcome, the Reviewer is required to provide the Director-General of Security with a reasonable opportunity to comment before finalising that opinion.

In the fourth case, the Reviewer commenced a primary review of the ASA but, before proceeding further, raised some issues with ASIO in accordance with the terms of reference. The Director-General advised the Reviewer to put the review on hold while ASIO considered the matter further.

Following that consideration, the ASA was withdrawn on 8 July 2020 and replaced a qualified security assessment (which falls outside the terms of reference). The Independent Reviewer terminated the incomplete primary review and advised the eligible person’s solicitor accordingly.

In the fifth case, the Reviewer commenced a primary review and conducted an interview with the eligible person and their legal representative before the Director-General asked for the review to be suspended while ASIO undertook more inquiries. On 16 July 2020, ASIO withdrew the existing adverse security assessment in respect of the eligible person and furnished another ASA in its place.

Accordingly, the Reviewer terminated the incomplete primary review and commenced a primary review of the new adverse assessment.

The Independent Reviewer’s two year appointment is due to expire on 26 March 2021.