Independent Reviewer of Adverse Security Assessments

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) protects Australia and Australians from threats to their security, however effective oversight of ASIO is important for safeguarding civil liberties while upholding national security.

This article explores the role of the Independent Reviewer of Adverse Security Assessments which conducts reviews of ASIO in relation to adverse security assessments.


Role of the Independent Reviewer of Adverse Security Assessments

The Independent Reviewer of Adverse Security Assessments (the Reviewer) conducts reviews of ASIO adverse security assessments (ASAs) given to the Department of Home Affairs (Home Affairs) for the purpose of determining a person’s suitability for a permanent visa.

As part of a review, the Independent Reviewer:

  • Examines all material ASIO has relied upon to make the ASA, and other relevant material, including information from the applicant,
  • Provides a written opinion, and recommendations as appropriate, to the Director-General of Security on whether the ASA was appropriate, and
  • Provides copies of the written opinion to the Attorney-General, the Minister for Home Affairs, and the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security.


Who is eligible for review?

People who are the subject of an ASA are eligible for it to be reviewed by the Reviewer if they:

  • Remain in immigration detention,
  • 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 an ASA.

The Reviewer will write and tell you if you are eligible for review, and will give you an application form, which must be returned within 60 days of receipt.


Can I have a lawyer or someone else assist me with my application?

Yes. You can arrange for a lawyer or another person to help you with your application and, when the time comes, your written submissions in support of your application.


What happens next?

The Reviewer will confirm receipt of your application. As soon as possible after you have applied for a review, the Reviewer will give you an unclassified summary of reasons prepared by ASIO in relation to the ASA.

At any time during the review process, you can make written submissions to the Reviewer in support of your application. You may also comment on the unclassified summary of reasons prepared by ASIO and provide any other information to the Reviewer.


Finalising the review

Once the Reviewer has considered all the relevant material, they will form an opinion as to whether the granting of your ASA was appropriate. The Reviewer will then advise the Director-General of Security of their opinion and recommendations.

The Director-General of Security will consider the Reviewer’s advice and will respond to the Reviewer and take any appropriate action. The Reviewer will then write to you to inform you of the outcome of the review and the Director-General’s response. You will also be given an unclassified summary of the Reviewer’s opinion, reasons, and recommendations.

It is possible that ASIO may conduct another security assessment as a result of the Reviewer’s recommendations. If ASIO advises Home Affairs that you are no longer the subject of an ASA, Home Affairs will then consider your visa eligibility.

Nyman Gibson Miralis provides expert advice and representation in complex cases involving Australia’s intelligence agencies, and can assist with applications to have an ASA reviewed.

Contact us if you require assistance.