Our most important responsibility is to keep Australians safe and protect our way of life, freedom and values.
A STRONGER DEFENCE FORCE
To protect Australia’s future security and interests we are undertaking the biggest rebuild of our Navy, Army and Air Force since World War Two.
The 2020 Defence Strategic Update and 2020 Force Structure Plan outline our plan to invest over $270 billion in Australia’s Defence capability over the next ten years.
In 2020, we restored Defence investment to 2% of GDP and have continued to deliver a stable funding path in 2021 and into the future.
This reverses the decline under Labor, when Defence funding was gutted by $18 billion and fell to 1.56% of GDP – the lowest level since 1938.
To meet the future security challenges, particularly in the Indo Pacific, Australia is entering into an enhanced security partnership with the United Kingdom and the United States – AUKUS.
AUKUS – A NEW SECURITY PARTNERSHIP
The AUKUS partnership between Australia, the UK and USA builds on the three nations’ close ties, and will enable us to deepen cooperation on a range of emerging security matters.
AUKUS will build on Australia’s already significant network of international partnerships, including with ASEAN, our Pacific family, Five Eyes, the Quad, and other like-minded partners in the region.
The first major initiative under AUKUS is to support Australia’s acquisition of at least eight nuclear-powered submarines for the Royal Australian Navy.
This capability – which the Government intends to build in South Australia – will significantly enhance Australia’s ability to deter threats, and to uphold stability and security in the Indo-Pacific.
Through AUKUS, we will also collaborate to enhance our joint capabilities, focusing initially on cyber security, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies and additional undersea capabilities.
DISRUPTING TERROR PLOTS
Since September 2014, Australia’s law enforcement agencies have disrupted 21 major terrorist attack plots.
138 people have been charged as a result of 66 counter‑terrorism related operations around Australia.
50 terrorist offenders are currently behind bars for committing a Commonwealth terrorism offence.
BOOSTING SECURITY AGENCIES
The Australian Government has passed 22 tranches of national security legislation. These are helping our intelligence and law enforcement agencies investigate, monitor, arrest and prosecute extremists.
To keep Australians safe from domestic and foreign threats, the Government is providing an additional $1.9 billion over a decade to strengthen our national security, law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
CANCELLING CITIZENSHIP FOR TERRORIST CONDUCT
Recent legislation passed by Parliament means a person who is a dual national can cease to be an Australian citizen if they act in a way that is inconsistent with allegiance to Australia.
This includes: engaging in terrorism related conduct; fighting for a declared terrorist organisation outside Australia, or being sentenced for at least 3 years for specified terrorism offences.
21 people have lost their Australian citizenship through terrorism-related actions.
Since 2013-14, the Government has allocated more than $69 million to Countering Violent Extremism programs, including more than $13 million for intervention programs.
There’s no place in Australia for people who come here and harm Australians.
We have increased the Minister’s power to cancel visas for non-citizens convicted of a serious crime. This has resulted in a 12-fold increase in visa cancellations.
Between December 2014 and August 2021, the Government cancelled or refused the visas of over 9,800 dangerous criminals.
This includes: 216 for murder; 462 for rape or sexual assault; 769 child sex offenders; 496 for armed robbery; and 1,762 for drug offenses.
TACKLING FOREIGN INTERFERENCE
We have strengthened Australia’s capacity to defend against foreign interference.
Legislation was passed in 2018 which:
- criminalises covert and deceptive activities of foreign actors;
- requires people to register if they engage in lobbying on behalf of a foreign principal;
- creates a Register of Critical Infrastructure Assets.
The recently passed Australia’s Foreign Relations Bill gives the Australian Government the power to veto agreements with foreign countries struck by state and local governments, as well as universities.
Under Labor, over 50,000 people arrived on over 800 illegal boats. The cost of Labor losing control of our borders is $17 billion and counting.
Our effective policies, first enacted by Scott Morrison as Immigration Minister, include:
- offshore processing;
- Temporary Protection Visas (which deny people smugglers a product to sell);
- boat turn-backs when it is safe to do so.
Stopping the boats has enabled the Government to close 19 detention centres and remove all children from detention.
The Liberal and Nationals Government is investing a total of $1.7 billion in a cyber-security plan to keep Australians safe and secure online.
FIGHTING CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
To protect children, the Government has cancelled the visas of 769 child sex offenders since 2014. We have stopped hundreds more at the border.
In June 2020, new laws increased maximum penalties (including up to life imprisonment) and introduced mandatory minimum sentences for serious and repeat child sex offenders.
We passed Carly’s Law, making it a crime for an adult to use a carriage service for causing harm to, or preparing for or engaging in or procuring sexual activity with, a minor.
We are taking steps to establish a National Public Register of Child Sex Offenders.
TACKLING ILLEGAL DRUGS
The Government is working to stop drugs at their source.
Between 1 July 2020 and 30 June 2021, the Australian Federal Police stopped 38 tonnes of illegal drugs from reaching Australian streets. This included: over 5 tonnes of methamphetamine; over 5 tonnes of cocaine; and nearly one tonne of heroin.
The Liberal and Nationals Government has sent drug offenders packing. Between December 2014 and August 2021, we have cancelled or refused the visas of 1,762 people for drug offences.
NATIONAL ANTI-GANGS SQUADS
In 2014, the Coalition Government established National Anti-Gangs Squads, to detect, deter and disrupt the activities of outlaw motorcycle gangs.
Since then, operations have led to the arrest of more than 1,480 offenders and the seizure of over 6,100 illicit firearms and firearms parts and over 2.5 tonnes of illicit drugs and precursors.
STOPPING THE TRAFFICKING OF ILLEGAL FIREARMS
Our Government introduced legislation to double the maximum penalty and provide mandatory minimum five year sentences for the trafficking of illegal firearms.
Unfortunately, Labor opposed this legislation.
KEEPING AUSTRALIANS SAFE ONLINE
In 2015, the Government established the world’s first Children’s eSafety Commissioner, now the eSafety Commissioner for all Australians.
In 2020-21, the eSafety Commissioner assisted 934 children and young people reporting serious cyberbullying. The eSafety Commissioner also helped 2,687 victims of image-based abuse and 1,599 victims reporting adult cyber abuse.
Also in 2020-21, investigations were made into 14,633 items of illegal content, including child sexual abuse material.
In the last five years, the eSafety Commissioner has reached over 650,000 students, parents and community groups through their training programs.
The Government is developing a new Online Safety Act which will further strengthen protections against cyber bullying, cyber abuse and violent material online.
USING PROCEEDS OF CRIME TO FIGHT CRIME
We established a national unexplained wealth scheme to get criminals where it hurts – their hip pockets.
This gives agencies greater powers to seize criminal assets and use the proceeds of crime for crime prevention and law enforcement measures, as well as drug addiction treatment and diversionary measures.
By contrast, Labor previously used money in the Confiscated Assets Account to boost its Budget bottom line.
HELPING LOCAL COMMUNITIES FIGHT CRIME
In the past 6 years, the Safer Communities Fund has provided over 600 grants to schools and community organisations to deliver youth engagement projects and provide security infrastructure.
Safer Communities funding is helping local communities address crime hotspots and anti-social behaviour through CCTV cameras, lighting and other activities.
As part of the 2020-21 Budget the Government announced that the Safer Communities Fund will continue for a sixth round, receiving $35 million over four years to ensure community and local government organisations can address crime and anti-social behaviour.
Information current as at September 2021