Committees submitted to
1. The Australian Human Rights Commission (Commission) makes this submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) in relation to its review of the Identity-matching Services Bill 2018 (Identity Bill) and the Australian Passports Amendment (Identity-matching Services) Bill 2018 (Passports Bill). This submission focuses primarily on the Identity Bill.
2. The Commission is established by the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth) and is Australia’s national human rights institution.
3. This submission addresses the potential impact of the Bills on human rights, and in particular the right to privacy. That right, enshrined in article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), may permissibly be limited by measures that are necessary and proportionate to achieve a legitimate aim, if protected by safeguards and oversight.
4. The Commission recommends that the Bills not be passed in their current form. In the event that recommendation is not accepted, the Commission makes a number of alternative recommendations designed to ameliorate the Bills’ impact on human rights.
5. The Australian Human Rights Commission makes the following recommendations:
The Bill should not proceed in its current form.
If the Bill proceeds, it should be amended so that the core elements of the design and operation of the interoperability hub should be specified in the text of the Bill, rather than being left to the discretion of the Secretary.
If the Bill proceeds, the provisions defining each of the identity-matching services should be substantially redrafted, so that their functionality is fully defined in the Bill.
If the Bill proceeds, it should be amended so that access to the FIS is only available on the issue of a warrant.
If the FIS proceeds, it should be available only on the issue of a warrant.
If the Bill proceeds, it should be amended to ensure that any identification information disclosed in the response to a request for an identity-matching service is not retained beyond the time necessary to verify or establish identity.
If the Bill proceeds, it should be amended to ensure that identification information produced in response to a request for an identity-matching service is not used for any purpose other than establishing or verifying identity.
The Minister’s rule-making powers in sections 5(1)(n) and 7(1)(f) of the Bill should not be passed.
If the Bill proceeds, the definition of ‘identity or community protection activity’ in section 6 should be amended so that:
- limb (a) of the definition of ‘law enforcement activities’ in subsection (3) includes only the prevention of serious offences
- subsections (7) and (8), dealing with ‘road safety activities’ and ‘verifying identity’ are deleted.