The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) has received detailed new evidence to its inquiry into the impact of the exercise of law enforcement and intelligence powers on the freedom of the press which has necessitated a further extension to its reporting timeframe.
Australia’s Right to Know (ARTK) coalition of media companies tendered a supplementary submission to the PJCIS’s inquiry last Tuesday, one week before the Committee intended to deliver its report.
The submission and its attachments contain detailed proposed amendments to fundamental parts of Commonwealth law enforcement and intelligence legislation.
The inquiry, which began in July, was referred by the Attorney-General Christian Porter.
The Committee says it also expects to soon receive a further submission from the Department of Home Affairs and the Australian Federal Police.
"The Committee has been working to thoroughly consider the issues presented to it since July," chair Andrew Hastie said. "This late submission from ARTK provides additional detailed evidence on the position of the major media stakeholders to this inquiry.
"The Committee also expects to receive a further submission from relevant Government agencies. The Committee will therefore not report next week but will wait to properly consider these new submissions."
"The complexity of the issues being considered in this inquiry has challenged the Committee’s ability to deliver a report in the timelines it was provided, and even within the timelines it has set for itself," Deputy Chair Anthony Byrne said. "In order for the Committee to consider this new detailed evidence and test government and societal opinion for the proposals put forward, the Committee will have to extend its inquiry timeline into next year."
According to Hastie, the Committee will consider the new evidence and expects to report early in the new year.