Monday, July 24, 2017

The Dutton Colossus #auspol

On the surface Malcolm Turnbull's reorganization of Australia's domestic security apparatus would appear to be a reaction to increasingly visible threats at home and abroad. This sort of consolidation has been proposed before, but has never gained traction until now. In reality it's more of a political play to keep both Left and Right on the back foot. The real changes may in fact be elsewhere, and at least one dramatic change isn't even part of the package

"The new Department of Home Affairs is unnecessary and seems to be more about politics than reform," The Conversation AU 18 July

The Home Affairs model goes against accountability norms established in wake of the 1978 Hilton bombing, weakens general legal oversight, and "risks diminishing the prospects of a clear connection between ministerial authority and ministerial responsibility."  Intelligence reforms are more sensible, but downplayed politically (link)

"UK Home Office a curious model for Malcolm Turnbull's Home Affairs Ministry," Sydney Morning Herald 19 July

The Home Office is the result of centuries of sausage-making compromise and contraction "where success constituted getting to the end of the week without being blamed for anything." Hardly a model for a country with a better chance of starting over (link)

"Why Has Malcolm Turnbull Made Peter Dutton The Most Powerful Minister In Australia?" JUNKEE 20 July

The Prime Minister was never enthusiastic about the idea. Neither are most of his ministers. But then he realized it's an effective way to hand an emerging rival a sop, rob a more established one (plus those further on the Right) of a platform, and prevent the Opposition from opposing him without appearing unpatriotic (link

"Intelligence review: design for a secure home," The Australian, 22 July

Far more effective reforms could be a result of this year's Independent Intelligence Review report, which was overshadowed by the Cabinet shuffle. The "increasing interconnection of international and domestic security risks" needs more than just political maneuvering (link)

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