Peter Dutton becomes national security ministerial tsar in portfolio shake-up

Malcolm Turnbull has announced soldiers may be embedded with police to respond to terror attacks

Last night on 2GB, 4BC News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt queried whether reshuffle was aimed at placating any desire Mr Dutton held to become Prime Minister - or legitimate security concerns.

The national security overhaul came as Australia, a staunch ally of the United States, reshapes its counter-terrorism response after a series of lone-wolf attacks and heightened fear of attacks by home-grown militants returning from fighting in the Middle East.

"However, the government believes that the evolving and complex threats to Australia's security require more enduring and better integrated intelligence and domestic security arrangements", he said.

'When it comes to our nation's security, we must stay ahead of the threats against us, ' Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

The AFP was part of the Attorney-General's portfolio but reported to the Justice Minister.

The new portfolio will see a much greater concentration of power and control over police and security agencies in the hands of one cabinet minister; it's a thought that many on the left of politics will hate (perhaps in a nod to these fears, Turnbull was careful to promise Australians' civil liberties would not be eroded).

For Dutton, the new Home Affairs Ministry is confirmation that his star is on the rise. This points the way to a summer reshuffle, with Attorney-General George Brandis widely tipped to exit parliament then. Both are now in the prime minister's portfolio.

"We have accepted the recommendations of the Australian Intelligence Community review as a sound basis to reform Australia's intelligence arrangements". There was a reasonable argument for immigration merging with other areas but beyond that it was presentational. It will now report to the Home Affairs Minister.

The changes, expected to become operational early next year, will require some legislative amendment, especially in relation to ASIO.

He said he was "very concerned that these proposals aren't being pushed by our security agencies, they're being pushed by Peter Dutton as the price of him continuing to support Malcolm Turnbull in his job".

The Attorney-General will transfer oversight of ASIO to the new portfolio but will continue to be the issuer of warrants under the ASIO Act and ministerial authorisations under the Intelligence Services act.

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