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ASIO's functions and powers are determined by the Parliament of Australia and set out in legislation.

This framework provides assurance to the Government, the Parliament and the Australian community that we operate strictly within our legislative framework in performing our role and functions.

As ASIO is the only agency in the Australian intelligence community authorised in the course of our normal duties to undertake investigations into, and collect intelligence on, the activities of Australian citizens, we operate within a particularly stringent oversight and accountability framework.

The foundation of this framework is the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979 (ASIO Act), which has been crafted to ensure there is an appropriate balance between individual rights and the public’s collective right to security.

ASIO’s warranted intelligence collection capabilities are referred to as 'special powers' in the ASIO Act.

Other key pieces of legislation that govern our roles and functions and use of special powers and oversight include: