National Security Statement

The Prime Minister Kevin Rudd today presented Australia’s inaugural National Security Statement (NSS) to Federal Parliament.  The NSS is a key part of the Government’s reform agenda to address some of the emerging challenges Australia may face in the 21st Century and will become a regular statement to the Parliament. It outlines initiatives to improve national security policy advice, coordination and governance.  It sets out the Government’s strategic direction on national security and articulates Australia’s national security interests, organising principles and describes the Government’s comprehensive view of security challenges facing Australia.

The NSS reflects the following principles:

  • Australia will seek to develop self-reliance across a range of national security capabilities.
  • The United States (US) alliance will remain fundamental to Australia’s national security interests.
  • Regional engagement – both bilaterally and pan-Asia.
  • Commitment to multilateral institutions such as the United Nations.
  • Advancing national security policy through middle power diplomacy.
  • Risk-based approach to assessing, prioritising and resourcing national security policy.
  • Commonwealth working in partnership with State and Territory governments.

The Prime Minister said today (4 December) that:

‘The most crucial relationship, in East Asia and globally, will be between the US and China. For Australia, the relationships between China, the US and Japan will affect our security and our economy, given the importance to us of our relationships with each of these nations and the material impact on the wider region of any significant deterioration in the relations between them.’

The NSS addresses the recommendations of the Homeland and Border Security Review which reported on the most efficient way to coordinate overall national security arrangements.  In response to that Review, Government has decided against a separate Agency and instead has opted for better coordination amongst existing agencies with higher levels of leadership.

The Government will appoint a National Security Adviser, Mr Duncan Lewis AO, to provide a new level of leadership, direction and coordination to the national security agencies.

In addition to the appointment of a National Security Adviser, the national security structure will be improved by the creation of a strategic policy framework, a National Intelligence and Coordination Committee and enhancing our national crisis management arrangements.  The National Intelligence Coordination Committee will have responsibility for foreign, defence, security and law enforcement intelligence.

The Government has also decided that an enhanced Customs and Border Protection Command is the preferable structure for Australia to meet its future border security challenges.

National crisis management arrangements will be improved through the establishment of a Crisis Coordination Centre.

The Government’s new priorities include:

  • improving the coordination of national security policy with reform of the structure of national security decision making through establishing a National Security Adviser;
  • implementing the recommendations of the Smith Report on Homeland and Border Security. This includes initiatives on organised crime, border security and science and innovation;
  • enhancing Australian Defence Force capabilities;
  • strengthening the US alliance;
  • strengthening our cooperation with regional partners;
  • promoting an Asia-Pacific Community;
  • actively pursuing nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament through the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament;
  • enhancing economic development in the South-west Pacific to underpin long term security;
  • enhancing Australia’s e-security capability; and
  • incorporating the implications of climate change and energy security into the formal national security decision making framework.