The February 7 report was headlined “Phelps invoice a safety threat: ASIO” and revealed categorised Division of Residence Affairs briefing – based mostly on recommendation from ASIO and different companies – had warned the Christmas Island detention centre would wish to reopen and that the individuals smuggling commerce may restart.
Residence Affairs Minister Peter Dutton stated on radio that morning that: “The companies have advised [Labor leader Bill Shorten] that this invoice can be a catastrophe and it might restart the boats.”
However a defiant Mr Lewis advised a Senate estimates listening to on Monday: “The recommendation that ASIO gave on this explicit case was confined to the applying of the ASIO Act.
“When reporting wrongly attributes recommendation from ASIO, or the place our categorised recommendation is leaked, it undermines all that we stand for. Breakdowns in these controls are severely damaging.”
Mr Lewis stated ASIO offered authorized recommendation in addition to recommendation associated to the timeframe required to conduct safety checks below the ASIO Act. He stated 24 hours – the interval initially given to the minister to reject a medical switch on safety grounds below the invoice – was too quick.
“It could possibly take a substantial period of time,” Mr Lewis stated. “There’ll clearly be limitations on how briskly we will reply.
“The velocity of the response would rely totally on the data that we’d have already got on the person … it will possibly take months.”
Labor later amended the invoice to present the minister as much as 72 hours to reject a switch on safety grounds. Mr Lewis didn’t categorical an opinion on that time-frame.
Residence Affairs secretary Michael Pezzullo has referred the leak of categorised data to the Australian Federal Police, which is now conducting an investigation.
Mr Lewis stated he had glad himself that nobody from his company was concerned within the leak.
“ASIO doesn’t and won’t use its place to affect the nationwide debate on security-relevant points by means of unauthorised disclosures,” he advised the listening to.
“I’ve the best confidence that ASIO officers work with integrity and don’t leak data to 3rd events as has been repeatedly implied within the media.”
Final week Mr Dutton stated no person from his workplace was the supply of the leak.
Mr Pezzullo defended The Australian‘s report and praised its creator, nationwide affairs editor Simon Benson, as a “senior and distinguished” reporter.
He stated regardless of the headline, the article made it “transparently obvious that the recommendation was from the Division of Residence Affairs, which drew on, partly, recommendation from ASIO”.
Mr Pezzullo stated one consider his choice to refer the story to police was that the article “put ASIO within the highlight of, when you like, a legislative argument”.
Michael Koziol is a political correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.