Australian jobless compete to be temporary spies to boost family coffers

It appears most of the positions which might become available will be in Canberra and applicants would need a positivesecurity clearance which included financial checks, referee interviews and a psychological assessment.

While ASIO's job ads lacked specific job descriptions given the sensitive nature of the agency's work, national security academic Alexey Muraviev, head of international relations at Curtin University, said he was sceptical about the benefits of casualisation in such agencies.

"To me even casualisation in secondary roles (in national security agencies) seems strange, although I'm a bit conservative on these things," Dr Muraviev said.

He said such agencies needed to develop skills in workers in the long term and that staff needed experience in the unique needs of the intelligence gathering workforce.