Today I signed a legally binding agreement governing the exchange
of classified information with the United States of America.
The General Security of Information Agreement was signed with the
US Ambassador to Australia, His Excellency Mr J Thomas Schieffer.
It replaces a 1962 pact between Australia and the United States
and takes into account advances in information technology.
The Agreement is an important contribution to our ability to work
productively with the United States Government, to share views and
information and to take actions to meet common challenges. It is
yet another example of our close and cooperative relationship.
The new framework covers the appropriate protection and handling
of classified information and includes a requirement that personnel
accessing such information be security-cleared to an appropriate
As the closest of allies, it is appropriate that Australia and
the United States continue to maintain arrangements that allow the
unhindered exchange of classified information. These enable our
military forces and intelligence agencies to operate together seamlessly
as they are now doing in the war against terrorism.
Media enquiries: Chris Kenny (Ministerial) 02 6277 7500 / Julie
McDonald (Departmental) 02 6261 1555