The office has one outcome, as noted in our 2018-19 Portfolio Budget Statement (PBS).
Our outcome is:
- Independent assurance for the Prime Minister, senior ministers and Parliament as to whether Australia’s intelligence and security agencies act legally and with propriety by inspecting, inquiring into and reporting on their activities.
The "Office of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security" is the only program identified in the PBS as contributing to this outcome.
Consistent with the above, the IGIS Corporate Plan 2018-19 describes the responsibilities of the office as:
- Under the IGIS Act the role of the Inspector-General is to assist Ministers in overseeing and reviewing the activities of the intelligence agencies for legality and propriety and for consistency with human rights. The Inspector-General discharges these responsibilities through a combination of inspections, inquiries and investigations into complaints. The Inspector-General is also required to assist the Government in assuring the Parliament and the public that intelligence and security matters relating to Commonwealth agencies are open to scrutiny. Submissions to Parliamentary Committees and a program of public speaking are designed to address this aspect of the Inspector-General’s role, as is our policy of providing as much information about our activities as is consistent with our secrecy requirements. (IGIS Corporate Plan 2018-19 p3).
Section 4 of the IGIS Act sets out the objects of the Act as:
a) to assist Ministers in the oversight and review of:
i) the compliance with the law by, and the propriety of particular activities of, Australian intelligence agencies; and
ii) the effectiveness and appropriateness of the procedures of those agencies relating to the legality and propriety of their activities; and
iii) certain other aspects of the activities and procedures of certain of those agencies; and
b) to assist Ministers in ensuring that the activities of those agencies are consistent with human rights; and
ba) to assist Ministers in investigating intelligence or security matters relating to Commonwealth agencies, including agencies other than intelligence agencies; and
c) to allow for review of certain directions given to ASIO by the Minister responsible for ASIO; and
d) to assist the Government in assuring the Parliament and the public that intelligence and security matters relating to Commonwealth agencies are open to scrutiny, in particular the activities and procedures of intelligence agencies.
In addition, the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (PID Act) requires the Inspector-General to:
- receive, and where appropriate, investigate disclosures about suspected wrongdoing within the intelligence agencies;
- assist current or former public officials employed, or previously employed, by intelligence agencies, in relation to the operation of the PID Act;
- assist the intelligence agencies in meeting their responsibilities under the PID Act, including through education and awareness activities; and
- oversee the operation of the PID scheme in the intelligence agencies.