The Royal Commission on Intelligence and Security was established on 21 August 1974. Its purpose was to:
- report on the history of the Australian security and intelligence agencies
- make recommendations about the future of the agencies to enable them to serve Australia in the most efficient and effective way
- recommend procedures for the review of adverse security decisions against individuals
- make recommendations about the machinery for ministerial control, direction and coordination of the security and intelligence services.
The Royal Commission received submissions from many sources, including:
- former ministers and public servants
- current and former staff of the security agencies
- Australian Government departments and agencies
- the general public.
The commission conducted public and in-camera hearings in Canberra and the mainland capitals. It also took trips to New Zealand, Asia, Europe and North America to gather information.
The royal commission's recommendations were contained in eight reports presented between March 1976 and April 1977. Many of the recommendations were taken up by the government.
Records of the royal commission
The National Archives holds many records of the Royal Commission on Intelligence and Security, including:
- evidence provided at hearings
- administrative records.
Exemptions have been applied to some information for security reasons.