Donaldson gets permanent appointment as INSLM

Former Solicitor-General for Western Australia has been acting in an oversight role since July.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

Australian Attorney-General Christian Porter announced on Friday the permanent appointment of Grant Donaldson as the fourth Independent National Security Legislation Monitor (INSLM).

Donaldson was Solicitor-General for Western Australia between 2012 and 2016, and has been acting in the new role since July while arrangements for his permanent appointment took place.

As the name suggests, INSLM looks into the operation and effectiveness of Australia's national security and counter-terrorism laws.

In his final report before retiring, former INSLM Dr James Renwick recommended Australia create an independent body to oversee approval of warrants for the nation's encryption-busting legislation, the Telecommunications and other Legislation Amendment (Assistance & Access) Act 2018 (TOLA Act).

Renwick had flagged at the start of the year that he would not be recommending the laws be overturned.

In August, the Australian Federal Police said it used the voluntary powers in the law, where law-enforcement ask carriers for assistance, three times in the 2019-20 fiscal year.

"Our experience is that Schedule 1 of TOLA has accelerated cooperation from industry, with providers increasingly willing to assist due to TOLA providing legal certainties and assurances regarding the commercial scope and impact of requests," the AFP said at the time.

"The fact the AFP has not sought any [compulsory notices] to date, does not indicate these provisions are not required. Rather, it demonstrates the effectiveness of TOLA's tiered approach."

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