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 About the Portfolio

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The Attorney-General's portfolio provides expert advice and services on a range of law, justice, national security, emergency management and cultural issues to our ministers and the Australian Government.

How the portfolio is managed

Government priorities and portfolio objectives

The portfolio works collectively to achieve the government's priorities and ensure successful
cross-portfolio delivery of government objectives. Portfolio agencies' strategic priorities are aligned with the government's agenda, which enhances the viability and success of portfolio initiatives.

Collaboration and information sharing

The department encourages active collaboration and information sharing across the portfolio. This facilitates better strategic alignment across the portfolio and reduces costs associated with overlap or duplication of portfolio initiatives.

Culture and leadership

The portfolio actively promotes a strong leadership framework and is committed to encouraging a diverse and inclusive work environment where staff are respected, valued and supported.

Accountability and reporting

The portfolio is conscious of ensuring it operates transparently and is accountable to the Australian public. The department facilitates collective and timely portfolio-wide reporting to parliament and compliance with whole-of-government initiatives.

Figure 1: Portfolio management system

Figure 1 alternate text available on link below 

Figure 1 alternate text

How the portfolio is structured

The portfolio includes the statutory office of the Solicitor-General, who is the Second Law Officer of the Commonwealth (the Attorney-General is the First Law Officer). As at 30 June 2014, the portfolio was structured as follows:

Department of state

  • Attorney-General's Department

National security and law enforcement

  • Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity
  • Australian Crime Commission
  • Australian Federal Police
  • Australian Security Intelligence Organisation
  • Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions

Criminal intelligence and information

  • Australian Institute of Criminology
  • Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre
  • CrimTrac

Legal services

  • Australian Government Solicitor
  • Office of Parliamentary Counsel

Courts and tribunals

  • Administrative Appeals Tribunal
  • Family Court of Australia
  • Federal Circuit Court of Australia
  • Federal Court of Australia
  • High Court of Australia

Regulation and reform

  • Australian Human Rights Commission
  • Australian Financial Security Authority
  • Australian Law Reform Commission
  • Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

Management of government records

  • National Archives of Australia

Cultural affairs

  • Australia Council
  • Australian Film, Television and Radio School
  • Australian National Maritime Museum
  • Bundanon Trust
  • Creative Partnerships Australia
  • Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House
  • National Film and Sound Archive of Australia
  • National Gallery of Australia
  • National Library of Australia
  • National Museum of Australia
  • National Portrait Gallery of Australia
  • Screen Australia

Changes to the portfolio

Under the Administrative Arrangements Order of 18 September 2013, responsibilities for cultural affairs and support for the arts and management of government records were transferred to the Attorney-General's portfolio. Responsibility for Indigenous law and justice was transferred to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and responsibility for customs and border protection was transferred to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

The Insolvency and Trustee Service Australia was renamed, under Executive Order, the Australian Financial Security Authority.

Our ministers

As at 30 June 2014, the portfolio had the following ministers:

  • Senator the Hon George Brandis QC, Attorney-General and Minister for the Arts
  • The Hon Michael Keenan MP, Minister for Justice.

About the department

Our role

The department was established as one of the original seven Commonwealth departments in 1901 to serve as a legal and constitutional adviser to government. Despite changes in responsibilities over that 113-year history, our central role in government has remained constant. Today we support the Attorney-General as the First Law Officer of the Commonwealth, lead within government on justice and home affairs policy, protect and promote national security, and work actively to ensure broad participation in, and access to, Australia's arts and culture.

Our outcome and programme structure

The Australian Government seeks to achieve benefits for the community (outcomes) primarily through programmes delivered by agencies. Our outcomes, programmes and performance targets are set out each year in the Portfolio Budget Statements and the Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements. This annual report responds to the performance measures set out in those documents, setting out our intended and actual performance for the year. Our outcomes and programmes are:

  • Outcome 1: A just and secure society through the maintenance and improvement of Australia's law and justice framework and its national security and emergency management system
    • Programme 1.1: Attorney-General's Department operating expenses—Civil justice and legal services
    • Programme 1.2: Attorney-General's Department operating expenses—National security and criminal justice
    • Programme 1.3: Justice services
    • Programme 1.4: Family relationships
    • Programme 1.5: Indigenous law and justice
    • Programme 1.6: National security and criminal justice
    • Programme 1.7: Australian Government disaster financial support payments
    • Programme 1.8: Royal commissions
  • Outcome 2: Participation in, and access to, Australia's arts and culture through developing and supporting cultural expression
    • Programme 2.1: Arts and cultural development.

Changes to our outcome and programme structure

The following changes have been made to our outcome and programme structure since the 2013–14 Portfolio Budget Statements:

  • A change in the title of Programme 1.8 from Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to the more general title of Royal commissions.
  • The addition of a new Outcome 2 and Programme 2.1 for the arts functions transferred to the department under the Administrative Arrangements Order of 18 September 2013.

How we are structured

The department is divided into three groups to deliver our programmes effectively and efficiently against strategic aims and broader portfolio objectives:

  • Civil Justice and Legal Services Group is responsible for matters including legal services provided to the Australian Government, federal courts resourcing and administration issues, family law, copyright, privacy, personal property securities, bankruptcy, intercountry adoption, commercial and administrative law, international law, human rights, legal assistance, native title, constitutional law, classification and the arts.
  • Strategic Policy and Coordination Group is responsible for matters including the provision of strategy and policy advice across the department, corporate counsel advice, cabinet and ministerial coordination, strategic communication, people and financial management, information technology and knowledge management.
  • National Security and Criminal Justice Group is responsible for matters including national security, counter-terrorism and protective security, national security resilience policy, emergency management, criminal justice and international crime cooperation.

Figure 2: Our organisational structure linked to outcomes and programmes at 30 June 2014

Figure 2 alternate text available on link below 

Figure 2 alternate text

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