National Security and Cyber

The development of a coordinated national security policy apparatus in Australia, with particular emphasis on counter-terrorism and, more recently, cyber security, has closely followed the introduction of similar policies in the United States since September 11, 2001.

Since 2001 the budgets of Australia’s intelligence services have more than doubled. On top of the funds the Australian government spent on defence in 2017-18, the Government committed increased funding towards the national security functions of a number of Government agencies, including the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and the Office of National Assessments.

Australia’s national security policy was centralised in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in Australia’s first National Security Strategy, delivered by then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard in January 2013, signifying a desire within Australian politics to revamp the nation’s security capabilities.

Australia’s increased concern with people smuggling has also led to significant institutional reforms. Australia’s border security landscape has been overhauled in recent years, with the establishment of the Australian Border Force (ABF), a range of programs underway to improve Australia’s border security settings, and the increasing involvement of the private sector. In July 2015 the ABF officially began operating, completing a process first flagged two years ago and representing what has been described as a "quantum leap forward" in Australia’s national security. The ABF brings together existing operational border, investigations, compliance and enforcement functions of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service for the first time in Australia.