On Tuesday the 18th of July, PM Malcolm Turnbull announced the most significant reform to the structure of Australia’s deep state in recent history.
By the end of 2018 parts of the Immigration Department, the Australian Border Force, the Australian Federal Police, and ASIO will cease acting as independent agencies, and will now fall under the umbrella jurisdiction of the newly created Home Affairs office, modelled after the Home Office in the UK.
The new federal ministry is to be led by Australia’s leading champion for protecting human rights and civil liberties the Honourable Peter Dutton.
Among those expressing concern to the new proposed changes include Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie. Wilkie made national headlines when he resigned from his post at the Australian intelligence agency ONA to denounce the government policy towards the upcoming Iraq war.
“The Government’s intention to incorporate at least the Australian Federal Police, The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, Border Force and parts of the Immigration Department into a super-security ministry answerable to Peter Dutton is one of the most nonsensical and alarming ideas to come out of Canberra in recent years,” Mr Wilkie said.
When an intelligence insider is warning of the dangers of such a concentration of power, we should take note. This new federal ministry appears so Orwellian in purpose it’s surprising they didn’t take the opportunity to name the new institution the Ministry of Freedom.
On the bright side however maybe an overarching centralised bureaucracy could streamline the processes and protections for whistleblowers, or not. More likely the same methods and systems of detention and abuse that were practiced on offshore detainees are soon to be transferred onto the Australian people and thus the slow decent towards authoritarianism continues.