Homeland Security Review (Smith Review)
In 2008, the Prime Minister commissioned Mr Ric Smith, former Secretary of the Department of Defence and Ambassador to China and Indonesia, to report on the best and most efficient way to coordinate Australia’s overall national security arrangements.
The review recognised that many threats are cross jurisdictional or transnational in nature, and acknowledged the parts played in mitigating these threats by States and Territories, business and the community.
The review recommended the appointment of a National Security Adviser in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to provide a new level of leadership and help ensure that agencies were properly joined up. The review also recommended an additional focus on threats and hazards other than terrorism, including emergency management, serious and organised crime and electronic attack.
With regard to border protection, the review recognised that existing arrangements were generally effective and that for the most part departments and agencies worked well with each other. It noted that while the Government could choose to re-name Border Protection Command as a ‘Coastguard’, the existing arrangements should be retained and built upon rather than revamped.
The review acknowledged that managing the threats in Australia’s large maritime domain is legally complex and involves many different agencies. It identified that the challenges and risks posed by illegal foreign fishing and people smuggling had been well managed at the operational level and relationships between agencies were sound, with agencies satisfied with the increasingly effective role of Border Protection Command.
Particular border security issues identified for further attention included new data analysis and biometric techniques, a review of quarantine services and set targets with regard to border risk management approaches, and a review of aviation security measures to ensure consistency, appropriateness and effectiveness.The review also identified that there was scope to streamline the legal framework for maritime enforcement activity, to improve the budget information available to government, and to better integrate search and rescue and other operational functions.