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The Intelligence Services Act 2001 ('the Act') provides the legislative basis for the work of ASIS, DIGO and ASD. The legislation stipulates the functions of the agencies, including what the agencies may, and may not, do.

Under the Act, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) has responsibility for the review of ASIS’s expenditure and administration.

The Act also specifies rules to protect the privacy of Australian citizens. These Rules were made in accordance with the Act and regulate ASIS handling of intelligence information concerning Australian persons.

Additionally, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Act 1996 created the role of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS). The IGIS is an independent statutory office-holder who is empowered to investigate complaints made against ASIS, to review the compliance of ASIS with the laws of the Commonwealth, States and Territories, and conduct inquiries into matters which fall within the prescribed functions of that office.

In addition to accountability mechanisms stipulated by the Act, ASIS is also subject to the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 and the provisions of other legislation such as the Crimes Act 1914, the Archives Act 1983, and the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997. ASIS’s financial accounts are fully audited by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) and we are subject to the performance audit powers under section 19 of the Auditor-General Act 1997.

ASIS is also subject to the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 and has developed policies and procedures.

ASIS prepares budgets and revised budget statements as part of the Additional Estimates process. ASIS’s agency budget allocations are included in the budget-related documents of the Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio. Copies of these can be found on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade budget web page.

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