Government boosts security powers

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Australian intelligence agencies will have more powers to protect national security if a new bill introduced by the federal government in parliament is successful.

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews told parliament the bill addresses operational challenges facing agencies due to changes in technology, geopolitical norms and disruptions from the pandemic.

"Once passed by the parliament, the measures introduced will ... identify and respond to terrorist threats more quickly, and strengthen co-operation between agencies," she said on Thursday.

The bill provides new emergency authorisations for agencies to help Australians in emergency situations overseas if, for example, they are kidnapped or held hostage.

It also authorises agencies to produce intelligence on Australians who are, or are likely to be, involved with listed terrorist organisations, but creates a legislative requirement for agencies' privacy rules to be publicly available.

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