The nature of ONI's work means that most of what we produce must remain confidential. But ONI, like the other agencies in the National Intelligence Community (NIC), is accountable at several levels to the Australian government and — through the government — to the Australian public.
Public accountability comes through publication of our Portfolio Budget Statements, review by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, annual reporting to the Parliament by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS), and the appearance of the Director-General at the Senate Finance and Administration Legislation Committee (when required).
The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS) is an independent statutory office holder who reviews the activities of the Australian intelligence agencies. The IGIS provides independent assurance that Australian intelligence agencies conduct their activities within Australian law, behave with propriety, comply with ministerial guidelines and directions, and respect human rights. The IGIS has authority to conduct inspections of and inquiries into ONI’s activities and regularly reviews ONI’s compliance with our internal privacy policies, and periodic reviews of ONI’s analytic independence (http://www.igis.gov.au/).
Parliamentary oversight of the administration and expenditure of the NIC is the responsibility of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security. ASIO, Defence agencies and ONI are all also subject to scrutiny through the Senate's Budget and Additional Estimates process.
Australian Government oversight of ONI also extends to the National Security Committee of Cabinet (NSC) — the peak ministerial decision-making body on national security matters, of which the Director-General National Intelligence is a member. The NSC focuses on major international security issues of strategic importance to Australia, border protection policy, national responses to developing situations (either domestic or international) and classified matters relating to aspects of operation and activities of the National Intelligence Community. The NSC is supported by the Secretaries Committee on National Security(SCNS), the peak officials-level committee also attended by the Director-General National Intelligence and chaired by the Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. SCNS considers all major national security matters to be put before the NSC and coordinates implementation of policies and programs relevant to national security.
NIC Ministerial oversight