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Programme 1.2: Nationalsecurity and criminal justice

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The objective of this programme is to contribute to Outcome 1 by protecting and promoting the rule of law and building a safe, secure and resilient Australia.

Achievements contributing to programme deliverables

Enhancing security

Counter-terrorism

The department has played a key role in developing new counter-terrorism policy and legislative measures to ensure agencies are better able to combat the evolving challenges of home grown terrorism and the threat from Australians who participate in terrorist activities overseas. During 2013–14, the department was involved in:

  • reviewing and improving security and legislative measures to respond effectively to Australian citizens' involvement with terrorist organisations and to discourage people engaging in overseas conflicts
  • maintaining strong relationships with the community and working with community leaders to discourage people travelling to fight in overseas conflicts
  • promoting safe, legal channels to make humanitarian contributions.

Contribution to Operation Sovereign Borders

A key government priority in 2013–14 was to address the prevalence of people-smuggling activities through Operation Sovereign Borders (OSB). The department is one of 15 government agencies contributing to the Joint Agency Taskforce, which was established to oversee the implementation of OSB. In support of the Attorney-General, as the Australian Government's First Law Officer, the department continues to assist with consideration of legal issues and litigation relating to OSB. This work is supported via the secondment of two departmental staff members to the Joint Agency Taskforce Headquarters to provide legal and policy analysis. In addition, the department has established a virtual team to support OSB which is able to draw on expertise from across the department.

The department is also contributing to key OSB regional efforts to combat people smuggling by working with countries in the Indo-Pacific region to encourage the establishment of tougher laws relating to people smuggling. In March 2014, the department co-chaired (with Thailand) a Bali Process workshop in Bangkok that finalised draft policy guides on criminalising migrant smuggling and human trafficking. Delegates from 38 Bali Process member countries and organisations endorsed the policy guides, which will be a valuable and practical tool for assisting countries within the region to criminalise migrant smuggling and human trafficking. The development of the policy guides was a key outcome of the Fifth Bali Process Ministerial Meeting in April 2013. The department also participated, as part of Australian Government delegations, in joint working groups to strengthen legal cooperation on people smuggling and other transnational crime with Malaysia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The Australian Victims of Terrorism Overseas Payment Scheme

The scheme provides financial assistance to Australian victims of overseas terrorist acts declared by the Prime Minister and was activated for the first time on 21 October 2013. Assistance of up to $75,000 is available to Australians who are harmed in declared terrorist acts as well as $75,000 to be shared amongst Australians who are close family members of those killed. The Department of Human Services administers and processes the claims under the scheme. As at the end of the 2013–14 financial year, $29,057,338 had been paid to victims.

Cyber security

During 2013–14, the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) Australia signed frameworks for operational collaboration with national computer emergency response teams in both Malaysia and Indonesia—in addition to existing arrangements with counterparts in Germany, Estonia, Republic of Korea, China and Japan. Through the CERT Australia, the department provides support to Australian industry in combating cyber threats.

Identity security

In 2013–14, the department led the development of new National Identity Proofing Guidelines to provide for more flexible risk-based approaches to verifying identity online. The guidelines are expected to be finalised later in 2014. Identity crime is amongst the most prevalent crimes in Australia, and is identified as one of the key enablers of serious and organised crime. Under the National Identity Security Strategy, the department is leading the Australian Government approach to identity security in order to promote community trust in the online environment and reduce identity crime more broadly—ultimately protecting the privacy of Australian citizens.

Expanding commercial access to the Document Verification Service

In early 2014, the department extended the availability of the Document Verification Service (DVS) to private sector organisations with client-identification obligations under Commonwealth legislation, such as anti-money laundering regulations. The DVS is a secure, online system enabling organisations to verify information presented on identity documents directly with the records of the document-issuing government agency. It is a central component of national efforts to strengthen Australia's identity security arrangements through the National Identity Security Strategy.

In addition to helping reduce the compliance costs of obligations of private sector organisations, the DVS helps businesses to reduce identity fraud and enhance the privacy of their customers. By mid-2014, a total of 170 private sector organisations had been approved for DVS access.

Development of the Code of Practice for Chemicals of Security Concern

In collaboration with businesses across a range of industries, the department developed and launched the voluntary national Code of Practice for Chemicals of Security Concern. The code is an evidence-based, risk management tool that helps businesses assess the potential risks of chemicals being stolen or diverted for terrorist purposes and suggests measures that businesses can adopt to reduce these risks while minimising the burden on industry. The code also encourages businesses to recognise and report suspicious behaviour to the national security hotline, which assists security and law enforcement agencies in detecting and preventing terrorist acts involving chemicals. To support the code, the department continues to progress awareness-raising work educating businesses and the wider community in the importance of chemical security.

Building disaster resilience

Over the last 12 months, the department has worked closely with the states and territories, and local government representatives on a broad range of national projects to strengthen Australia's resilience to natural disasters. Some of the highlights include:

  • Emergency Alert, the national telephone-based emergency warning system which has been used extensively by state and territory authorised warning agencies to warn communities of bushfire, flood and cyclone risks across Australia. The location-based warning capability has been operating on all three carrier networks since October 2013. This enhancement has considerably improved the rates of successful delivery of warning messages to mobile telephones.
  • Establishment of the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre which provides a long-term research base directly supporting the emergency management sector in all areas of prevention, preparedness, response and recovery.
  • Revision of the National Emergency Risk Assessment Guidelines and publication of state-wide risk assessments which will help communities better understand the risks they face and enable them to act on that information.
  • Development of capability and investment plans to support the implementation of the Enhancing Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment Roadmap which will help ensure that land use planning decisions are better informed by an understanding of disaster risk.
  • Delivery of the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience Community Engagement Framework, used by emergency management practitioners to effectively engage with communities.
  • Development of a national impact assessment model to better target relief and recovery assistance to communities affected by disasters.

Emergency assistance concessional loans

The department has worked with the states and territories and across a range of government agencies to deliver the government's election commitment to make available concessional loans to small businesses who have suffered a loss of income as a result of a natural disaster. The new loan scheme was delivered on 23 December 2013 under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements and was activated for the first time on 7 March 2014 in response to the Hazelwood coal mine fire in Morwell, Victoria. This scheme provides for emergency assistance concessional loans of up to $100,000 to be provided to small businesses, primary producers and voluntary non-profit bodies.

National Situational Awareness Tool

The department partnered with Geoscience Australia and the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation to develop the National Situational Awareness Tool (NSAT). Extensive consultation was undertaken with the Emergency Management Spatial Information Network of Australia and each state and territory fire and emergency service, to enable geospatial incident and meteorological data to be shared in real time between jurisdictions and the Australian Government. The NSAT was operational in its initial phase by October 2013, and was used extensively over the course of the 2013–14 summer. The department continues to work with its partners to further expand and improve the NSAT ahead of the 2014–15 summer in order to provide a truly nationally consistent approach to situational awareness.

Combating crime

The department has helped to deliver a number of measures to combat gangs and organised crime that complement the work of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) led National Anti-Gangs Squad and the new Australian Crime Commission (ACC) led Anti-Gang Intelligence Coordination Centre, including:

  • supporting multi-agency law enforcement taskforces to tackle serious and organised crime on the waterfront and disrupt the illicit goods supply chain in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales
  • strengthening our ability to target the criminal business model by
    • introducing amendments to strengthen unexplained wealth laws
    • tightening the customer due diligence requirements businesses must apply when providing services which can be exploited to launder illicit money
    • commencing a comprehensive review of Australia's anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regime
  • adding four additional substances, which are marketed as synthetic LSD, to the list of substances that attract the Commonwealth's serious drug offence penalties
  • working with state and territory counterparts to develop a national framework for consistent responses to the threats posed by new psychoactive substances, which health ministers endorsed in April 2014, and police and justice ministers endorsed at the Law, Crime and Community Safety Standing Council meeting on 4 July 2014.

Australian Ballistics Information Network

The department played an integral role in the successful implementation of the Australian Ballistics Information Network (ABIN), which was launched by the Minister for Justice on 21 May 2014. The ABIN manages electronic ballistic information on a national basis and allows police to collect ballistic information from crime scenes and recovered firearms for comparison and matching to suspects and other crimes throughout Australia.

The department built jurisdictional support for the ABIN by working closely with state and territory senior officials and police commissioners as well as ministers through the Standing Council on Police and Emergency Management. The department also worked closely with CrimTrac, which is managing the technology behind the ABIN.

Combating corruption

The department developed a range of initiatives to combat corruption, including leading Australia's engagement in multilateral anti-corruption forums. In December 2013, the department assumed the co-chair position (alongside Italy) on the G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group under Australia's 2014 G20 Presidency. As co-chair, the department is in the process of finalising work on the Group's 2013–14 Anti-Corruption Action Plan (as agreed by G20 leaders). The Working Group's recent endorsement of G20 High Level Principles on Beneficial Ownership Transparency was led by the department and has been a key achievement of the Group under the Action Plan. The department is also leading development of the G20's post-2014 anti-corruption priorities and work plan.

Customer due diligence laws

The department worked closely with the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) to amend Australia's anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) requirements for customer due diligence. The reforms were signed into law on 19 May 2014 following extensive public consultation. The reforms increase corporate transparency by requiring regulated businesses (such as banks) to know the identity of the person who owns or controls their corporate customers. The changes also strengthen requirements for customer due diligence in high-risk situations, including when dealing with politically exposed people. The changes are critical to preventing the abuse of trusts and companies to obscure criminal identities when laundering money or financing terrorism.

Working internationally

International crime cooperation

A Treaty between Australia and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam on Extradition came into force on 7 April 2014. The treaty facilitates closer cooperation between Australia and Vietnam and will ensure neither country becomes a safe haven for persons accused of serious crimes in the other country.

A number of extradition cases continue to engage the interest of the Australian and international communities, including Croatia's request for Daniel Snedden (also known as Dragan Vasiljkovic), who is wanted to face prosecution for alleged war crimes. Another matter that attracted significant public interest was Peter Nash, who was surrendered to the United States to face prosecution for money laundering, computer and drugs offences. Following a judgment in favour of the Commonwealth in the High Court, the Australian Government also surrendered Mr Adamas to Indonesia to face charges in relation to corruption offences.

Following legislative amendments which enable Australia to ask a court to register non-conviction-based restraining orders from any foreign country, approximately $20 million in assets has been restrained in Australia in response to eight mutual assistance requests from partner countries. At the time of writing, proceedings relating to these assets were still in progress.

Aid-funded work in the Indo-Pacific region

In 2013–14, the department developed, piloted and delivered its interactive training course on legal policy development to over 75 officials from 13 Pacific Island countries. Building legal policy skills is critical to strengthening the capacity of our partner countries to develop and implement effective legislation. The department also supported the development of modern and effective crime and policing laws to improve community safety in Pacific Island countries through:

  • assistance to reform the Cook Islands' Crimes Act 1969
  • the delivery of training and assistance in Kiribati and Tuvalu to implement their new policing legislation
  • working with the Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police to undertake a review of forensics legislation in the Pacific region.

The department continues to deploy 11 officers to Papua New Guinea's justice agencies under the Strongim Gavman Programme to improve the delivery of law and justice services and support the rule of law in Papua New Guinea. The department is assisting Papua New Guinea to enhance its
ability to prevent and combat corruption through a two-year project delivered jointly with AUSTRAC.
This project includes legislative reform, mentoring and training to strengthen the effectiveness of Papua New Guinea's anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws and its ability to recover the proceeds of crime, including corruption.

The department also continued to work with countries such as Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Pakistan to strengthen their laws to combat transnational crime. For example, the department worked with Pakistan to strengthen its terrorist asset freezing laws, including amendments to its Anti Terrorism Act 1997. We also collaborated with Indonesia's anti-corruption commission to deliver judicial dialogues in Indonesia on the use of Indonesia's anti-money laundering and anti-corruption laws.

Evaluations and reviews

Assessment of extending the Document Verification Service

This review considered the risks of extending the DVS to the private sector, the appropriateness of governance arrangements and provided advice on the compliance regime for users of the service. In early 2014, the department extended the availability of the service to private sector organisations with client identification obligations under Commonwealth legislation, such as anti-money laundering regulations.

AusCheck client satisfaction survey 2014

This year's AusCheck client satisfaction survey, conducted independently by Orima Research in June 2014, reported 94.5 per cent of respondents as agreeing or strongly agreeing that AusCheck's services are of high quality. This outcome represents a result that is consistent with AusCheck's previous high levels of client satisfaction.

Results against key performance indicators

Table 7: Results against key performance indicators, Programme 1.2

Key performance indicators
Results
Accurate, timely and high-quality advice

2013–14: Achieved—trend information is not available as this is a new key performance indicator set out in the Portfolio Budget Statements

The department provided advice on Australia's national security law and policy framework to a range of stakeholders including the Attorney-General, Australian Government agencies, state and territory government agencies and the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor.

The department also provided advice to assist the Minister for Justice to respond effectively to the challenges posed by serious and organised crime. This included coordinating and prioritising measures to target outlaw motorcycle gangs and supporting the Minister's participation in the new Law, Crime and Community Safety Council. This council will enable the Commonwealth to work collaboratively with the states and territories to develop a national response to organised crime. The department has also provided input to parliamentary inquiries on significant financial crime, proceeds of crime and corruption-related issues.

The department continued to provide assistance and advice to build strong regional legal frameworks and to strengthen capacity in the Indo-Pacific region, helping to create a coordinated response to tackling transnational crime, and promoting a stable and secure region. Key assistance was provided to:

  • Cook Islands, including in-country consultations and drafting, to review and reform its Crimes Act 1969
  • Kiribati and Tuvalu to assist implementation of reformed policing legislation
  • PNG to improve the delivery of law and justice services and enhance its ability to prevent and combat corruption
  • Indonesia to strengthen application of its anti-money laundering and
    anti-corruption laws
  • Pakistan to strengthen its terrorist asset freezing laws.
Effective management of national security and criminal justice programmes 2013–14: Achieved—trend information is not available as this is a new key performance indicator set out in the Portfolio Budget Statements

 

The department facilitated 235 government decisions about the release of federal prisoners.

The department received 497 applications to import firearms and firearm-related articles, and granted permission in 432 cases (some related to applications made in the previous financial year).

The department completed 82,451 background checks for the Aviation Security Identification Card Scheme, 66,240 background checks for the Maritime Security Identification Card Scheme, and 199 background checks for the National Health Security Checking Scheme.

In accordance with the AusCheck Guidelines, 37 individual requests were received for access to the AusCheck database seeking information for national security and/or law enforcement purposes. Requesting agencies were the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS), the Australian Crime Commission (ACC), the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Office of Transport Security (OTS).

During the reporting period AusCheck provided 12 copies of the current security card inventory to the ACC and the AFP. Ten copies were provided to the ACBPS. Approved agencies may also apply to AusCheck for direct access to the AusCheck database. At 30 June 2014, officers from the AFP and OTS maintain direct access to the database.

The department contributed to key Operation Sovereign Borders regional efforts to encourage the establishment of tougher laws to combat people smuggling. This included training 35 Sri Lankan prosecutors and 10 Indonesian prosecutors to strengthen their capacity to prosecute people smuggling and human trafficking cases.

The department led implementation of the National Identity Security Strategy by Australian governments to provide national leadership on identity security policy. Implementation of key projects under the strategy, including expansion of the DVS, has strengthened Australia's identity security infrastructure.

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