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On 18 July 2017, the Prime Minister announced that the Government would establish a Home Affairs portfolio that will bring together Australia’s immigration, border protection, law enforcement and domestic security agencies in a single portfolio. As outlined in the recent Library paper, A Quick Guide to the History of Proposals for an Australian Department of Homeland Security, Australian governments of different persuasions have considered the establishment of something like the US Department of Homeland Security or the UK Home Office on several occasions since the early 2000s. The Prime Minister stated that the new Home Affairs portfolio will be more similar to the UK model, as opposed to the US model—‘a federation, if you will, of border and security agencies’, under which the various agencies would retain their statutory independence.
This quick guide outlines what the Government has said about the creation of the new portfolio and some of the changes that will (or might) be involved in establishing the portfolio, and provides links to some responses and reactions to the announcement.