Minister of Home Affairs, Office of National Intelligence created in government security shake-up

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Tuesday announced the creation of an Office of National Intelligence under a new ministry of Home Affairs to combine the strengths of differing security agencies.

Ms Credlin said the new initiative had the “stink of a prime minister who’s under pressure and has to be seen doing something”.

“This isn’t going to happen for 12 months. Why this announcement now, why are no experts supporting it, no report requiring it?” She said over Sky News.

“It just seems to me cooked up.

The new Home Affairs portfolio would be similar to the UK’s Home Office arrangement, but not the Department of Homeland Security in the US. Each agency under the new umbrella will retain their statutory independence, Mr Turnbull said.

They include domestic spy agency ASIO, the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Border Force and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission.

Current Immigration Minister Peter Dutton will oversee the new portfolio and be assisted by Attorney-General George Brandis and Justice Minister Michael Keenan

The measure is part of the most significant reform to national intelligence and domestic security arrangements in more than 40 years.

“We need these reforms, not because the system is broken, but because the security environment is evolving quickly,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra this morning. “It’s becoming more complex. It’s likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. We need a better structure to meet the challenge of the times.

“Our agencies are highly capable and staffed by very skilled and dedicated officers … (this review ) has made many important recommendations to transform our highly capable agencies into a world class intelligence community to ensure, as the review says, that is the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”

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