Well, one things for sure – “customs” as an exterior entity is all but gone down under – Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced on Tuesday he will set up a single ministry to oversee the country’s internal security, including police, intelligence, border protection and immigration affairs.
Turnbull said the measure was necessary to address the complexity and rapid evolution of security challenges in the country, including domestic terrorism, international organized crime and cybercrimes.
“We need these reforms, not because the system is broken, but because our security environment is evolving quickly,” Turnbull said at a press conference.
“When it comes to our nation’s security, we must stay ahead of the threats against us. There is no room for complacency,” he added.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton will now head the Australian Federal Police, Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and the Australian Border Force.
Turnbull said the initiative, which will take a year to implement, is the largest internal security reform in 40 years and that the creation of the super ministry emulates similar decisions taken by other countries such as the United Kingdom.
The new portfolio will be similar to the United Kingdom’s Home Office arrangement, a federation, if you will, of border and security agencies,” he told reporters on Tuesday. As part of the reform, a single national intelligence office will be the coordinating authority, and will comprise a new center that will be dedicated to cybersecurity.
The reform was approved despite initial resistance by Attorney-General George Brandis, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Minister of Justice, Michael Keenan.
Turnbull assured that both the federal police and ASIO will retain their independence and that actions by the security agency will have to be approved by the attorney general.
The opposition criticized the decision and accused Turnbull of trying to use the reform to consolidate his leadership in the face of pressure from the most conservative sections of the ruling coalition.
Australia raised its terror alert in September 2014 and has passed a series of anti-terrorist laws to prevent attacks on its territory.
Since then Australia has suffered five violent incidents and has thwarted 12 other potential attacks. Source: laht.com
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