Thursday 28th of September 2023

Scott Parkin: ASIO's Inquiry Into ASIO (Nov 2005)

"While the precepts of natural justice would point to providing Mr Parkin with the details of the security assessment and allowing him to respond and suggest ways in which the evidence and considerations might be tested, security considerations of the kind described above would appear to reasonably preclude this. Even to attempt to allude in general terms to the elements of the security assessment would be problematic in this way.

I appreciate that Mr Parkin and others with doubts about his treatment will most likely find this vexing, but it is inevitable given the nature of the matter being examined."

-Ian Carnell, Inspector General Of Intelligence and Security,
November 2005

Mr Carnell took it upon himself to conduct an inquiry into ASIO's handling of Parkin. He is quite clear that his terms of reference don't include the actions of DIMIA and the AFP after they were given the security classification, and says how he's recommended to the AFP that they look at Greg Sheridan's ASIO leak in the Australian (remember, the story of how Parkin was going to teach Aussies how to roll marbles under horses' hooves?) and I wonder whatever happened to that investigation.

Mr Carnell came to the following conclusions:

  • (a) ASIO did not have, at the relevant time, information which would have justified recommending against the grant of a visa and took a close interest in Mr Parkin because of information received about his activities once in Australia.
  • (b) There is no evidence or reason to think that ASIO’s security assessment in respect of Mr Parkin was influenced from elsewhere within the Australian Government or by external bodies.
  • (c) The security assessment was based on credible and reliable information and the legislative requirements were met.
  • (d) ASIO did not act improperly in the course of speaking to Mr Parkin about the possibility of an interview with him.

Mr Carnell seems to think that ASIO's assesment methods might be out of date. He closes his report by suggesting that "While application of this 1990 Determination to Mr Parkin’s case did not raise concerns, it is a useful practice to periodically review key guidance documents and refine them in the light of experience and current circumstances." Back around then cameras were still clicking around the Adelaide Irish Club in case anyone was connected to an Irish terrorist, so you can guess that ASIO methodology from that time may be a little out of sync with the current War On Terror. In no way is being a Halliburton protester the slightest bit similar to being an IRA abettor. It seems to me that ASIO might still be assessing according to outmoded and draconian criteria.

Carnell refers to a classified document titled "“Comments on ASIO security assessment in respect of Mr Scott Parkin” and says that paragraph 18 says why details can't be placed in the public domain. He also clears ASIO of being influenced by Halliburton or its proponents, but doesn't say how he reached this conclusion.He says that "Given the appearance of normalcy and the absence of indications even suggestive of outside influence, as well as the firm sworn evidence, it must be concluded that outside influence was not attempted and did not occur." In otherwords, if he can't see that it happened then it didn't happen.