AFP switches back to A-G department, ASIO stays in Home Affairs

By Anna Macdonald

June 2, 2022

AFP-Australian-Federal-Police building
AFP goes back to the attorney-general. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

With the shake up from prime minister Anthony Albanese of federal departments, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has shifted from the Department of Home Affairs to the Attorney-General’s office.

The AFP was added to the home affairs portfolio in late 2017 when Peter Dutton was minister for home affairs.

The move was not without criticism, as in 2019 the Australian Federal Police Association (AFPA) told The Guardian the move weakened the integrity of the force.

“It’s an embarrassing situation. We look like the least independent police force in Australia; surely the other police forces are laughing at us,” association president Angela Smith said at the time.

With the news the AFP is now under the attorney-general’s portfolio, the AFPA has welcomed the change, tweeting its support. 

Mark Dreyfus was named attorney-general earlier this week, and is also taking on the role of cabinet secretary. The minister for home affairs is Claire O’Neil, who is also the minister for cybersecurity. 

Home Affairs, while losing responsibility for the AFP, is gaining the responsibility of natural disaster management. This move includes the National Recovery and Resilience Agency.

The same move of the AFP five years ago also saw the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and the Australian Border Force move into home affairs, as reported by the ABC, where they remain despite the departmental shake-up. 

At the time, former Department of Defence secretary Dennis Richardson said ASIO and AFP had been in the same portfolio for more than 20 years, which meant the change in some aspects was ‘nothing new’.

The new changes mean ASIO and the AFP are no longer in the same portfolio. 


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