Dutton to head new terrorism portfolio
I MMI G R A T I O N Mi n i s t e r Peter Dutton will become one of the Turnbull Government’s most powerful players as head of the new Home Affairs office in the intelligence and security community’s biggest overhaul in more than 40 years.
In a move that helps secure his own prime ministership and cements his right- wing credentials, Mr Turnbull has elevated his greatest leadership threat.
In doing so, he has had to weaken the standing of Attorney- General George Brandis and Justice Minister Michael Keenan amid deputy leader Julie Bishop’s opposition to the restructure.
The new leader of the Right in the Federal Liberal Party, Mr Dutton’s far- reaching Home Affairs portfolio encompasses immigration, border force, Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, Australian Federal Police, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, AUSTRAC and the office of transport security, with two ministers reporting to him.
A taskforce will work out the logistics of the restructure process, expected to take about six months.
Mr Turnbull said the evolving and complex threats to Australia’s security required better integrated intelligence and domestic security arrangements.
“When it comes to our nation’s security, we must stay ahead of the threats against us,” he said.
Mr Dutton credited Mr Turnbull for having the “resolve” to establish the Home Affairs department.
“For a long time prime ministers have been talking about the Home Affairs office and Malcolm Turnbull has been able to land this,” he said.
“I don’t think anyone could reasonably level a claim at this Government that we’re not conservative and doing everything within our powers in terms of the threat posed to us by terrorism.”