Public service job fears in security super-agency shake up

Unions representing Australian Federal Police officers and Department of Immigration employees are seeking urgent briefings from the Turnbull government on plans to create a new Home Affairs super-agency in Canberra.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull confirmed a dramatic shake-up of Australia’s security, police and intelligence agencies, set to alter Canberra’s public service landscape and see right-wing minister Peter Dutton in charge of the sprawling security portfolio.

Public servants, spies and Australian Federal Police and Australian Border Force officers will watch the changes closely, with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to lead a taskforce planning the moves due in 2018.

Staff from a range of departments and agencies will be affected, including within the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, AUSTRAC and the Office of Transport Security.

The Australian Signals Directorate will be established as a statutory authority within the Defence portfolio and a new Office of National Intelligence will be created.

Australian Federal Police Association president Angela Smith said her members would welcome reporting to a senior cabinet minister, instead of the more junior justice minister position.

“I’m not going to hit the panic button in relation to it because there’s not enough detail yet,” she said.

“The government is saying the AFP will retain its statutory independence, just within one portfolio. If the AFP reports directly to Peter Dutton, he’s in cabinet and that’s always a strong place to be.”

Ms Smith said she would seek a meeting with AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin and a briefing from…

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