Australia to Set Up Super Ministry for Homeland Security


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:


Nigerian Customs – a paramilitary display reports that Nigerian Customs Service has signed an agreement for the delivery of two 24 metre P249 patrol craft, which will use them to combat smuggling and piracy.The supplier is a Cape Town based outfit called Kobus Naval Design (KND). In the context of intra-Africa trade this deal should be considered a real scoop. Kobus Potgieter, CEO of Kobus Naval Design (KND), confirmed that his company had received the order and would deliver the vessels in ten months’ time. The aluminium vessels will be built in Cape Town. This will be the sixth KND designed vessel in the Nigerian waters delivered over the last couple of years. The company is also busy with a dive boat contract for the oil and gas industry in Nigeria.

Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) also recently approved N1.7 billion (US$11 million) for the purchase of a Cessna Citation CJ4 aircraft for the Customs Service. The aircraft would be used for surveillance missions along Nigeria’s borders and would help combat economic sabotage and cross-border crimes. Alhaji Mohammed Dikko, the Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service, said that his agency had already acquired the helicopters for surveillance of Nigeria’s borders and added that President Goodluck Jonathan had approved the purchase of 400 Toyota Hilux vehicles for border patrol.

Border control is an increasingly important issue in Nigeria. Militant groups in the oil-producing Niger Delta have been illegally supplying weapons for years and Boko Haram is also believed to have received illegal arms, raising questions about border surveillance, especially after reports that weapons looted from Libya have turned up in Nigeria. Source: and

Zero Tolerance – the saga of 100% scanning continues

Various opinions on this subject have been voiced over the last 3 years – the threat of sea and airborne cargo being used as ‘a delivery mechanism’ for a nuclear or terrorist attack. Besides the US calling for 100% scanning of containerised cargoes at point of origin, the reality remains that less than 4% of seaborne containers are being scanned at port of departure.

Post 9/11, the US was quick to initiate a multi-layered approach to securing America against another terrorist attack. This entailed a number of domestic and extra-territorial programmes. At the bottom of each of these lies an authoritarian distrust or question mark against the integrity of entities involved in the international supply chain. In as much as these modern-day Customs’ initiatives aim to deal with tangible and intangible threats, one can begin to question the motives used by many governments and organisations in introducing such programs.

Last year, the US postponed it’s requirement for 100% scanning of inbound boxes by at least two years because of technical and funding issues. (Lets not forget the massive outcry from foreign countries of origin who envisaged their own ports coming to a standstill). The 2014 deadline, as it stands, would require any container heading to the US to be scanned for conventional as well as radioactive threats before being loaded at a foreign port.

However, in June 2011, US Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano went on record saying that 100% scanning was “probably not the best way to go”. She said Congress was considering a “more layered approach” to container security, a combined system of scanning, data and risk analysis, physical checks and closer co-operation with ports and countries around the world.

Could it be that the promise of mega-deals for the ‘security industry’ is under serious threat given limited success and results from these ‘supply chain’ initiatives? One hears less and less about the awarding of multi-million dollar contracts for non-intrusive equipment. Funding is a big issue, and no less an issue is the question mark which countries of origin have regarding the direct intrusion these US-domestic policies have on their local economies and supply chains.

The WCO went a long way in accommodating and addressing the question of international terrorism which in the view of many helped curbed the ‘paranoia’ which prevailed post 9/11. Still the question of motive and opportunity spurred several organisations and governments to support the many bilateral developments that ensued. The EU Commission for one was infuriated by the bilateral overtures of the CBP and EU Custom’s administrations before diplomatic agreement prevailed.

The bottom line is that a nation’s domestic policy overrides that of the wants and whims of the more affluent states. Several donor programs nowadays offer ‘security equipment’ free of charge to countries packaged with ‘capacity building programmes’ to instil the desired mentality of the donor country or agency. Traditional forms of customs control and human initiative/intuition are being cast out on the trash heap as primitive everywhere, yet there is little to show for the billions of dollars spent on anti-terrorism measures year after year. However, reading the article – Zero Tolerance – you get the impression of a little desperation on the part of the engineers and manufacturers of nuclear based security equipment – almost wishing a further nuclear calamity to prove their point! Source of article: