Home Affairs – Super Ministry

The Australian government has just announced a new federal super-ministry of Home Affairs will be set up, including the Australian Federal Police, Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (Asio), and the Australian Border Force.

This new super-ministry will be headed by the Australian Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton. The Prime Minister says this new ministry is the “most significant reform of Australia’s national intelligence and domestic security arrangements and their oversight in more than 40 years”. It is a major reorganisation of the ministry, stripping ASIO from the Attorney-General George Brandis’ portfolio.

It remains unclear how these changes will improve national security, which has caused experts to be divided on the new super-ministry. The former Asio and Asis boss David Irvine said that the most important thing was the national security organisations continue to operate according to the law and which portfolio minister they report comes second to that point.

Michael L’Estrange, a former secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and co-author of a review into Australia’s intelligence agencies, has backed the move to a home affairs portfolio, but, did not recommend it as part of his report. Mr L’Estrange said there was logic to the changes and that comparable countries had moved to a home affairs portfolio but that more work needed to be done on the details.

Source: Migration Institute of Australia Newsletter dated 21 July 2017.