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The Department of Home Affairs

Updated: Nov 10, 2023

The Australian Department of Home Affairs is the government ministry responsible for national security, law enforcement, emergency management, border control, immigration, refugees, citizenship, transport security, and multicultural affairs. It was formed under the Liberal National Party Coalition government during Malcolm Turnbull’s Prime Ministership, with the restructuring of departments being described as a “US-style Department of Homeland Security. “

The Australian Department of Home Affairs was founded in December 2017, following the amalgamation of the following agencies and departments:

  • Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP)

  • Australian Federal Police (AFP)

  • Department of National Security (DNS)

Mike Pezzulo was appointed Inaugural Secretary and continues to serve in this role, with Peter Dutton overseeing the department as its inaugural minister. At the time of the restructure, then-attorney-general George Brandis, then-foreign minister Julie Bishop, and then-defence minister, Marise Payne, were all in opposition against the proposed amalgamation of security agencies into a single department.

The Department of Home Affairs is responsible for a wide range of functions, including:

  • border security and management

  • Counter-terrorism

  • citizenship and social cohesion.

  • cyber and critical infrastructure resilience and security

  • Immigration

  • Multicultural affairs

The Department of Home Affairs has a budget of over $7 billion with offices across Australia and in several overseas locations. In 2022, under the new Labor government, the AFP was removed from the Department of Home Affairs, with powers handed back to the Attorney-General. In 2023, an independent review was announced to investigate the department regarding contracts signed to manage offshore processing, including several signed with Radiance International which was involved in providing accommodation services in Nauru.

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