Su­per crime- fight­ing of­fice on way

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - RE­NEE VIELLARIS

A CRIME- fight­ing su­per of­fice fo­cused on pro­tect­ing Aus­tralians from ter­ror­ism, bikies and drugs will be cre­ated by the Turn­bull Gov­ern­ment and run by for­mer cop- turned Im­mi­gra­tion Min­is­ter Pe­ter Dut­ton.

Mal­colm Turn­bull will ram through plans for a UK- style home af­fairs of­fice through the seven- mem­ber Na­tional Se­cu­rity Com­mit­tee ( NSC) ahead of a meet­ing with split Cabi­net min­is­ters to­day.

NSC was sched­uled for late to­day but Mr Turn­bull yes­ter­day brought it for­ward to 9am.

The new model, guided by an in­de­pen­dent re­view into the Aus­tralian in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity, sparks a stun­ning as­cen­sion for Mr Dut­ton, who was dumped from the pow­er­ful NSC in 2015 by Mr Turn­bull af­ter launch­ing a coup against for­mer prime min­is­ter Tony Ab­bott.

Mr Dut­ton was re­in­stated to NSC last year. Un­der the new model, Mr Dut­ton will run an um­brella- style de­part­ment by sit­ting at the top to en­sure do­mes­tic spy and law en­force­ment agen­cies bet­ter co- op­er­ate and co- or­di­nate in­tel­li­gence gath­er­ing and oper­a­tions.

His job will also in­clude ramp­ing up the Gov­ern­ment’s na­tional se­cu­rity wins, a po­si­tion deemed cru­cial lead­ing up to the next fed­eral elec­tion. Spy agency Aus­tralian Se­cu­rity In­tel­li­gence Agency ( ASIO), the Aus­tralian Fed­eral Po­lice, Im­mi­gra­tion and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion, the Aus­tralian Trans­ac­tion Re­ports and Anal­y­sis Cen­tre, Aus­tralian Crim­i­nal In­tel­li­gence Com­mis­sion and the Of­fice of Trans­port Se­cu­rity will now be over­seen by Mr Dut­ton.

The po­si­tion of Jus­tice Min­is­ter, now held by Michael Keenan, will sit un­der Mr Dut­ton, while the po­si­tion of At­tor­ney- Gen­eral, now held by Ge­orge Bran­dis, will sit sep­a­rate to the su­per port­fo­lio.

For the past 68 years, ASIO has re­ported to the At­tor­ney- Gen­eral, rais­ing ques­tions as to whether Se­na­tor Bran­dis will re­sign when the new model will start.

De­fence will re­main sep­a­rate as will over­seas spy agency, the Aus­tralian Se­cret In­tel­li­gence Ser­vice.

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