National security and international policy
The National Security and International Policy Group advanced the Government’s policy objectives through provision of advice, coordination and leadership on:
- foreign trade, overseas aid and international law priorities
- defence, homeland and border security priorities and intelligence coordination and cooperation
- national security policy and planning
- the development of a secure coordinated and effective national security information management and whole of government cyber policy.
The Group comprises three divisions:
- Cyber Policy and Homeland Security Division
- Defence, Intelligence and Information Sharing Division
- International Division.
In 2012–13 the National Security and International Policy Group provided advice to the Prime Minister on national security and international policy initiatives, including:
- supporting the Prime Minister’s leadership of Australia’s whole of government engagement with Afghanistan, including planning for the completion of Australia’s military and civilian deployment in Uruzgan province by the end of 2013
- enhancing ties with key regional partners by supporting the Prime Minister’s visits to India (15 to 17 October 2012) and China (5 to 10 April 2013) – these visits resulted in strengthened bilateral architecture with both countries including agreement to annual leaders meetings and to upgraded Ministerial contact
- strengthening engagement with Indonesia by supporting the annual leaders meeting in Darwin in July and the Prime Minister’s attendance at the Bali Democracy Forum in November as well as participation in the memorial service marking the tenth anniversary of the October 2002 Bali bombings
- helping secure Australia’s seat as a non-permanent member of the United Nations (UN) Security Council in 2013–14 through support of the Prime Minister in bilateral meetings and at regional and multilateral summits, particularly the UN General Assembly Leaders Week in New York in September 2012
- helping secure key Australian economic and political regional goals through policy advice and support for the Prime Minister’s attendance at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting in Vladivostok in September 2012, the Asia–Europe Meeting (ASEM) on 4–7 November 2012 in Vientiane and the East Asia Summit (EAS) in Phnom Penh on 19–21 November 2012
- advancing Australia’s trade liberalisation agenda by providing whole of government coordination and supporting the Prime Minister’s advocacy on bilateral free trade agreements with China, India, Japan and South Korea
- deepening ties in the Pacific by supporting the Prime Minister’s attendance at the Pacific Islands Forum in Rarotonga in August 2012, visits to New Zealand in February 2013 and Papua New Guinea in May 2013
- leading the preparation and launch of Australia’s first National Security Strategy
- leading establishment of the central initiative of the National Security Strategy – the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) which facilitates a cohesive and effective whole of government response to cyber incidents
- delivering the annual Coordinated National Security Budget in partnership with Finance, Treasury and the National Security Community
- supporting the Secretaries Committee on National Security that considered all items considered by the National Security Committee of Cabinet
- formalising New Zealand’s membership of the National Counter-Terrorism Committee (NCTC) to create the Australia – New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee (ANZCTC); and streamlining and improving the ANZCTC’s business processes
- hosting a multi-agency taskforce to support the work of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers and developing an implementation strategy for the recommendations of the Panel’s Report
- revising the Australian Government Crisis Management Framework, which sets out the roles and responsibilities of Ministers and senior officials in responding to a crisis.
|National security and international policy (Program component 1.1.2)||Met|
|High level of satisfaction of the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and Cabinet committee chairs and the Parliamentary Secretary with the quality and timeliness of advice, briefing, activities and/or support.||✓|
|Successful national leadership and coordination of the National Security Community and the national intelligence community, including on cyber policy and information sharing.||✓|
|Advancement of the Government’s international priorities that promote Australia’s security, prosperity, international profile and influence.||✓|
|Provision of whole of government responses to major national security related crises or emergencies.||✓|
|Successful development and whole of government integration of foreign and international security strategies as required by the Government.||✓|
|High level satisfaction with the quality of support provided by the departmental secretariat to bodies supported by the Department, including the National Counter-Terrorism Committee and the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor.||✓|
|Satisfaction of other central agencies, portfolio departments and other key stakeholders, with the cooperation and collaboration of the Department.||✓|
|Compliance with all relevant legislation.||✓|
Cyber Policy and Homeland Security Division
The Cyber Policy and Homeland Security Division advises on policy and strategy in the areas of border security, counter-terrorism, cyber policy, crisis coordination and law enforcement.
We led the coordination and provision of advice to the Prime Minister on countering people smuggling and irregular maritime arrivals. In particular, we coordinated and provided support to the multi-agency Border Protection Taskforce, chaired by PM&C. We also hosted a multi-agency taskforce to support the work of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers and developed the implementation strategy for the recommendations of the Panel’s Report.
We advised on the Prime Minister’s engagement with foreign leaders on irregular migration and people smuggling issues. We also contributed to the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service reform agenda.
In 2012 New Zealand joined Australia’s counter-terrorism coordination efforts and the national committee was renamed the Australia-New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee (ANZTC). We coordinated the activities of the ANZCTC, managing committee business, including meetings in December 2012 and June 2013.
We provided advice to the Prime Minister on COAG’s counter-terrorism legislation review and two international terrorism incidents.
We supported the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor (INSLM), Mr Bret Walker SC, to develop his annual report to the Prime Minister on 20 December 2012. The report focused on the powers available under the counter-terrorism legislative regime. We also assisted the INSLM in conducting public hearings in accordance with the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor Act 2010.
The 2013 National Security Strategy emphasised the need for better integration of cyber policy and operations. To achieve this, we worked with other agencies to develop the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), which will be Australia’s premier cyber security capability, and the Cyber Security Operations Board (CSOB), to oversee Australia’s operational cyber security capabilities.
We led the interdepartmental Cyber Policy Group and International Engagement Group, which together ensured effective cooperation and coordination of cyber policy across government. Internationally, we promoted Australia’s positions on key cyber issues, such as internet governance, including at the Budapest Conference on Cyberspace. In consultation with relevant government agencies and Telstra, we coordinated the second annual Cyber Security Challenge, an event that raises interest in cyber security careers amongst university students and education providers.
We revised the Australian Government Crisis Management Framework, which provides guidance to Ministers and senior officials during the response to any crisis that occurs within Australia or that affects our interests overseas.
Ten years of the National Counter-Terrorism Committee
After 11 September 2001 the Prime Minister, State Premiers and Territory Chief Ministers met at a special summit to agree on new ways to tackle terrorism. One of the key outcomes of this meeting was the formation of the National Counter-Terrorism Committee (NCTC).
The NCTC marked its tenth anniversary in October 2012 and welcomed New Zealand as a full member. The committee was renamed the Australia – New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee (ANZCTC). New Zealand’s membership provided formal recognition of the importance of trans-Tasman cooperation in security matters.
For ten years, the committee has led Australia’s effort to build nationwide capabilities to counter terrorism. The Department has co-chaired the committee since its commencement and has provided secretariat support since 2003.
In the ten years since its inception, the committee has:
- ensured strategic directions for counter-terrorism are aligned with the current threat environment
- practised national and local responses to terrorist threats and attacks in a number of exercises
- developed the skills of our first-responder, intelligence and investigative professionals to meet the evolving terrorism threats
- refined the way in which government communicates with the public about terrorism
- worked cooperatively across governments and with partners such as universities to better understand, and counter, violent extremism.
The ANZCTC is a positive example of an intergovernmental committee which has strengthened the cooperative relationships between the Commonwealth and State and Territory jurisdictions and, more recently, between Australia and New Zealand.
We provided advice to the Prime Minister on combating gang violence and organised crime and on the Offshore Oil and Gas Resources Sector Security Inquiry.
We worked with other agencies to implement a trial of criminal history information sharing with New Zealand for employment vetting purposes. The trial, conducted with the Queensland Government, is part of a broader package of reciprocal sharing of criminal history information to support border control and law enforcement. The trial demonstrated the feasibility of exchanging criminal history information and highlighted the benefit of expanding the initial trial.
Defence, Intelligence and Information Sharing Division
The Defence, Intelligence and Information Sharing Division provides coordination and advice in relation to defence, intelligence, the national security policy framework, and the national security information management environment.
Defence and intelligence policy
In 2012–13 we supported the Prime Minister’s consideration of major defence issues – most significantly, those relating to strategic policy, Defence operations and major capital acquisitions. In particular, we continued to support the Government’s consideration of transition planning for operations in Afghanistan, East Timor and the Solomon Islands. We also provided advice on major defence acquisitions and future Defence capability requirements.
We prepared and assisted with advice on Defence reviews, including the US Global Force Posture Review and the Australian Defence Force (ADF) Posture Review.
In 2012 we undertook a comprehensive review of the national intelligence priority-setting framework in order to address the Government’s policy and operational priorities.
In facilitating the Government’s defence and intelligence policy needs, we supported the National Security Adviser in chairing the National Intelligence Coordination Committee through providing secretariat support and intelligence policy advice. In this role we also worked closely with agencies across the national intelligence community, including the Office of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security.
We continued to oversee the implementation of recommendations of the 2011 Independent Review of the Intelligence Community. By integrating these recommendations into ongoing activities, we are continuing to ensure the national intelligence community functions more effectively.
Information sharing and national strategic policy framework
We supported the Government’s consideration of overarching strategic national security policy issues and, in particular, the Prime Minister’s launch and ongoing implementation of Australia’s first National Security Strategy.
We continued to work on strategic direction, supporting whole of government national security policy development and promoting a cohesive national security culture. This included improvements to priority setting, resource allocation through the Coordinated National Security Budget process and the application of practical and risk-based analytical approaches to national security policy and planning.
Consistent with our commitments under the National Security Information Environment Roadmap: 2020 Vision, we made further progress in removing barriers to secure and appropriate information sharing.
The International Division provides advice on foreign policy, trade and aid priorities, strategy, bilateral relations and Australia’s engagement with regional and international organisations.
Australia in the Asian Century
In 2012–13 there was an enhanced focus on Australia’s role in the Asia-Pacific region and on giving effect to the Government’s strategy set out in the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper (released on 28 October 2012).
We supported the Prime Minister’s activities in advancing Australia’s relationships with key Asian countries and whole of government engagement with vital regional partners, including India, China, Japan and Indonesia, particularly through:
- the Prime Minister’s visit to China in April 2013 when agreement was reached to hold annual leaders meetings and Ministerial-level economic and foreign and strategic dialogues (see the feature on page 31)
- the Prime Minister’s visit to India in October 2012, which secured agreement to annual Prime Ministerial meetings; to a new Ministerial dialogue on energy security; and to commencing negotiations on a civil nuclear cooperation agreement
- the Prime Minister’s meeting with Indonesian President His Excellency Dr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Darwin in July 2012, which delivered an agreement to commence negotiations on the Indonesia–Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement
- the visit by the President of Myanmar in March 2013, the first by a Head of State from that country since 1974, marking a significant strengthening of the bilateral relationship and underlining Australia’s support for the reform process underway in that country
- the Prime Minister’s engagement with other Asian leaders during visits to Australia by the Prime Minister of Singapore, the President of the Philippines and the Sultan of Brunei.
We supported the Prime Minister’s active role at key regional and multilateral forums including APEC (September 2012), the Asia-Europe Meeting (November 2012) and the EAS (November 2012). Attendance by the Prime Minister at the EAS reinforced Australia’s commitment to building the summit as the premier body for regional dialogue across the whole spectrum of regional political, security and economic issues. ASEM marked the Prime Minister’s first visit to Asia following the launch of the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper and provided an opportunity to explain the white paper to key regional leaders.
Engagement in the Pacific
The annual Australia – New Zealand Leaders’ Meeting was held in Queenstown in February 2013 marking the 40th anniversary of the Closer Economic Relations agreement and resulting in the agreement to a range of measures designed to further deepen economic integration. We worked with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and our New Zealand counterparts to facilitate this meeting.
Planning and briefing was provided for the Prime Minister’s visit to Papua New Guinea, during which the signing of a Joint Declaration for a new Papua New Guinea – Australia Partnership reflected the evolution of the bilateral relationship to a new level of cooperation based on trust, respect and common values. We also supported the Prime Minister’s attendance at the Pacific Islands Forum in August 2012, which included the announcement of a $320 million initiative to increase the proportion of Pacific women in leadership and decision-making roles.
Bali bombings 10th anniversary Memorial Service, October 2012
On 12 October 2012 the Prime Minister travelled to Bali, Indonesia to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 2002 Bali bombings. In cooperation with the Government of Indonesia, the Australian Government held a Memorial Service at the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park in Bali which was attended by over 1,200 people. On the same day the Governor-General led a Memorial Service in the Great Hall of Parliament House in Canberra.
We worked closely with other Government agencies and Australia’s Embassy in Indonesia to support the Prime Minister’s visit and assist with whole of government coordination of the memorial services and the delivery of the Bali Memorial Assistance package. This assistance was provided by the Government to Australians who were seriously injured and to the families of the Australians who lost their lives in the 2002 bombings, to help them cover the costs of attending the services.
During the visit the Prime Minister toured the Sanglah Hospital burns unit, which provided critical care to many Australians in the first hours after the bombing, and thanked those, Indonesians and Australians, who worked side by side in the rescue and recovery process.
The visit highlighted Australia’s close friendship with Indonesia and sent a strong message that the 2002 acts of violent extremism have only served to bring our two countries closer together. The effective counter-terrorism and law enforcement cooperation built between Australia and Indonesia in response to the Bali bombings has grown into an enduring partnership, to the benefit of both countries.
Prime Minister's visit to China, April 2013
In April 2013 the Prime Minister visited China, holding substantive discussions with China’s President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang just weeks after China’s historic leadership transition.
Reflecting the Government’s commitment, as outlined in the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper, to a stronger and more comprehensive relationship with China, the Prime Minister led the most senior Australian political delegation ever to visit China. The Prime Minister was joined by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Minister for Trade and Competitiveness and the Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation.
During the visit Australia and China agreed to hold annual leaders meetings and Ministerial-level economic and foreign and strategic dialogues. These arrangements will give renewed strategic direction to the bilateral relationship.
This major step forward was accompanied by a range of policy announcements spanning business and finance, tourism, international cooperation, defence and climate change. Among these announcements were the establishment of direct trading between the Australian dollar and the Chinese renminbi; cooperation to address some of the region’s most pressing development issues, such as drug resistant malaria and HIV/AIDS; and an agreement to work together on the shared challenges of carbon pollution and climate change.
We played a key role in supporting the Prime Minister’s visit by working closely with Australian Government agencies and Australia’s Embassy and consulates in China to deliver focused, timely whole of government advice reflecting Australia’s growing engagement with China.
Work leading to Australia’s successful campaign for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council intensified early in 2012–13. This included support for the Prime Minister at the United Nations General Assembly Leaders Week in September 2012 in New York, which underscored Australia’s longstanding support for UN objectives and built Australia’s multilateral profile on regional and global issues, including through the Prime Minister’s leadership role as co-chair of the UN Secretary-General’s Millennium Development Goals Advocacy Group.
Assistance was provided to the Prime Minister as Commonwealth Chair-in-Office, including on delivery of the Charter of the Commonwealth. The Charter sets out, for the first time, the values of the Commonwealth and is a significant achievement under Australia’s term.
We provided advice and support for the Prime Minister’s leadership of Australia’s engagement with Afghanistan including, in consultation with international partners, advice on the agreement to the transition of lead security responsibility to the Afghan National Security Forces by 2014.
We also advised on non-proliferation and disarmament issues and deployments of the Australian Civilian Corps.