The Law Council of Australia has established a national security committee to guide its advocacy on the nation’s domestic and global security laws, policies and practices, and has appointed former NSW Director of Public Prosecutions Lloyd Babb SC to be its inaugural chair.
Editor’s note: for more content relating to Australia’s defence sector, subscribe to Lawyers Weekly’s sister brand, Defence Connect.
Last Friday, 15 October, the Law Council announced it was establishing a national security committee, which it said will help inform its advocacy on the operation of Australia’s laws, policies and practices as the domestic and global security environment evolves.
The committee will “build upon, and will continue to utilise the expertise of, the Law Council’s expert advisory committees who have contributed to its long-standing advocacy in this field”, LCA said in a statement.
Its membership is being finalised and will meet, for the first time, next month.
Speaking about the new committee, LCA president Dr Jacoba Brasch QC said: “For the entirety of our 88 years of operation, the Law Council has always sought to improve the quality of the laws passed in this vital arena, through balancing the upholding of our national security, with, the preservation of the fundamental liberties which underpin our civil society.”
“In view of the importance of national security, the complexity of the issues that face us as a nation, and the legislative changes contemplated to address these challenges, the time is right to inaugurate a dedicated team of experts to provide insight and input,” she proclaimed.
The announcement comes as the federal government moves to respond to the 203 recommendations of Mr Dennis Richardson AC’s Review of the Legal Framework of the National Intelligence Community.
This, LCA noted, will include a “wholesale rewriting” of electronic and surveillance laws at a Commonwealth level.
Dr Brasch added that Lloyd Babb SC, who served as the Director of Public Prosecutions in NSW from 2011 to July of this year, brings an “extensive and distinguished background in criminal law” to the role of chair.
“We are incredibly grateful Lloyd has agreed to lead the Law Council’s contribution to the national debate on security and the law,” she said.
“Under Lloyd’s foundational guidance, the national security committee will provide advice on the operation, effectiveness and implications of Australia’s national security laws while making sure our national security policies and laws contain appropriate safeguards for protecting the rights of individuals and are proportionate to any threat.”