Defence & National Security

"My Government is committed to keeping Australians safe. That is and always will be our first priority."

Malcolm Turnbull
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The Turnbull Government’s first priority is to keep Australians safe from those who seek to do us harm. Our security and law enforcement agencies are among the best in the world, and the Government is determined to ensure Australia’s counter-terrorism laws continue to address evolving threats to our national security.

The Government is undertaking the most significant reform of Australia’s national intelligence and domestic security arrangements in decades. The reforms will restructure and strengthen Australia’s Intelligence Community, establish a Home Affairs portfolio and enhance the Attorney-General’s oversight of Australia’s intelligence, security and law enforcement agencies.

Australia has robust and comprehensive counter-terrorism arrangements to address the terrorist threat. From community engagement to diplomacy, from law enforcement to intelligence, our agencies at all levels of government are doing everything they can to prevent and, should the need arise, respond effectively to terrorist attacks.

In July 2017, the Prime Minister announced that the Australian Defence Force will expand its role in assisting the states to respond to terrorist incidents under new changes being made by the Government. The overhaul will make it easier for Defence to work together with Federal, State and Territory Police before and during a terrorist incident, and give the States and Territories much more flexibility to prepare responses to terrorist threats.

It is essential that Australia evolves its responses and counter-measures in response to the changing threat. Defence must be able to contribute effectively to domestic counter-terrorism efforts, in addition to its offshore counter-terrorism missions.

Since August 2014, we have invested $1.5 billion in our law enforcement and security agencies to combat terrorism, and have passed nine tranches of additional national security legislation. Since the national terrorism threat level was raised on 12 September 2014 to Probable, we have seen five attacks and 13 disruptions of major terrorist plots.

In 2016 the Government released the Defence White Paper, which sets out a comprehensive, responsible long term plan for Australia’s defence. The Government is investing approximately $200 billion in Defence over the next decade to deliver the capabilities set out in this White Paper and Defence spending will reach 2 per cent of GDP by 2020-21. Investing in Defence ensures that we have the armed forces we need to protect Australia and to secure our national interests in the coming decades.

Our defence industry plan, including our continuous shipbuilding program, is ensuring that our defence dollars are spent here in Australia to the greatest extent possible to support local businesses, jobs and create a sovereign industrial capability.

Under the Turnbull Government

Boost in funding for law enforcement, security and intelligence agencies since 2014
54 Naval Ships
Largest ever peacetime investment in Defence
Home Affairs Office
To streamline security agencies

Responsible Ministers

The Hon Christopher Pyne MP
Minister for Defence Industry
The Hon Christian Porter MP
Senator the Hon Marise Payne
Minister for Defence
The Hon Peter Dutton MP
Minister for Home Affairs, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection