Are Australia's security agencies getting too big?
Well, you'd have to be living under a rock not to notice that Australia, is radically different security environment than walls just two years ago. The Prime Minister he's locked into the situation to the nineteen thirties, and in the last six months, we've seen a massive increase to the budgets for defense and our intelligence agencies. Now, the external threats are undeniable. You just think of the rising power of China, but are we at risk of undermining our political freedoms by expanding the powers of security agencies too much. Hell big and powerful. Should we let security agencies get? And what kind of oversight exists to ensure that the intelligence is not collected or used for political purposes? What do you think we'll pay the redwoods is the former official historian and the author of several award winning books. He's most recent one is called law politics and intelligence a law of Robert. Hope. Welcome back to the show painter. Thanks very much tom thanks for having me and just into carol she's a visiting fellow and senior research fellow at the national. Security, college it you good to be with you again just enter right to be thanks Tom. Now let's start with the hope commissions in the seventies and eighties Peter. This is your faces take us back to that time. Why are those commissions so important well between the mid seventies in the mid eighties over ten year period three successive Prime Ministers Whitlam Fraser and Hoke commissioned the same man just as good hope to conduct major inquiries into the intelligence agencies What he set up was not just not just any inquiry into a agency in Asia was the declared one and quite controversial that he set up a whole system for the agencies. Sitting out what each what agencies Australia needed, what each one should do, and what should not do how they should interact with each other, how they should interact with departments with individual ministers with the cabinet and cabinet committees and with the international partners Those we now know is five is and he emphasized a number of things. He particularly emphasized the intelligence system should serve the whole of government and not be unduly influenced as it was when he started by one or two very powerful departments, and towards that end, he said that should be a central coordinating agency which would only be invoked with assessment and he allocated collection assessment and dissemination different agencies. this one would be only concerned with assessment on like the American CIA and with its the independence of its. Assessments guaranteed by legislation. To, be independent from ministerial oh departmental. Precious. and. He said a of other things about the relationships between intelligence and lure enforcement agencies. Keeping Intelligence and policy making separate keeping intelligence and law enforcement separate were among the the basic