News PM considers new security, terrorism portfolio: report

PM considers new security, terrorism portfolio: report

The government is reportedly considering a new security portfolio. Photo: AAP
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Australia could be set for an overhaul of its approach to combat terrorism and other domestic threats, including a new government portfolio.

The government is reportedly considering a new portfolio that would combine the Australian Federal Police, ASIO and Australian Border Force into a department similar to the UK’s Home Office and the Department of Homeland Security in the US.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been held “high-level talks” with cabinet colleagues about the potential new portfolio, according to News Corp.

Mr Turnbull confirmed a review was underway but would not go into more detail.

“We do have a review of the Australian intelligence community under way,” he told News Corp. “But I’m not going to get into a discussion about government structures.

“The way I operate as prime minister is I run a cabinet government. We confer on a whole range of issues ­together and when we’ve made a decision, we make an announcement.”

The mooted new department might mean the weakening of portfolios belonging to Justice Minister Michael Keenan, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and ­Attorney-General George Brandis, according to News Corp.

The Attorney-General’s department is responsible for counter-terrorism under the current system, with the justice minister taking AFP and ASIO while border security is dealt with by the immigration minister.

The UK, the Home Office is responsible for counter-terrorism, police, immigration and drugs policy.

In December, the Australian Federal Police and Victoria Police foiled a terror threat that would have hit a number of Melbourne landmarks Christmas Day.

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