Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull is set to create a new super-ministry headed by immigration minister Peter Dutton, in which police, intelligence and border control agencies will be brought under one roof.
The new department will see the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, the Australian Border Force and the policy functions of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection come together in a single portfolio.
Dutton’s leadership of the new portfolio will likely be debated by cabinet today. As well as what the changes mean for attorney-general George Brandis, who will see his portfolio shrink with the removal of ASIO and the AFP.
The move has raised concerns among fellow ministers who question the legalities of having the two security agencies under the new arrangements.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports Brandis, foreign minister Julie Bishop, justice minister Michael Keenan and defence minister Marise Payne are all understood to oppose the idea.
Turnbull is expected to make the announcement of the new ministry on Wednesday morning when he unveils a review of national security arrangements by former Department of Foreign Affairs head Michael L’Estrange.
National security has become a focus of the Turnbull government with the prime minister announcing yesterday new processes to allow the military to be available to state governments to deal with terrorist response.
Last week Turnbull said Australia’s response to terrorism needed to “evolve” in line with the increasing threats.
“As we honour our law enforcement and security services — who rush towards danger when others flee — we must ensure that they have the powers and resources to stay ahead of the threat,” he said in London.
“As our adversaries’ methods and tactics evolve, so must ours.”
Turnbull was in the UK to meet with British Home Affairs minister Amber Rudd and her predecessor in the role, current Prime Minister Theresa May, to discuss how the British Home Office worked.
The SMH has more here.