Statement from Minister for Home Affairs

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the hard working men and women of the Home Affairs Department led by Mike Pezzullo and its portfolio agencies for the incredible work they do to keep Australians safe.

Secretary Pezzullo has served both sides of politics, but his first priority is to serve our country and he has done an exceptional job.

I’m incredibly proud to have been the inaugural Minister for Home Affairs in its modern form.

Together we have thwarted 20 terrorist attacks, invested record amounts into ASIO and AFP, seized record amounts of drug importations and worked day and night to keep women and children and the broader public safe from threats.

Commissioner Reece Kershaw and his leadership team has turned around the AFP and they go from strength to strength.

Mike Phelan and the ACIC contribute to our successes in ways that will never be made public and they deserve our appreciation.

I’m incredibly proud of the $70 million investment in establishing the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation. The men and women there who save and protect children on a daily basis are world leaders in their field. Stamping out the exploitation of children has been our greatest achievement in this portfolio. This is a battle we must win and I will continue to be a strong ambassador for this cause.

I would like to really honour the leadership of Commissioner Michael Outram and the Australian Border Force in halting the evil people smuggling trade and preventing deaths at sea. Under my watch, there has not been a successful boat arrival or a death at sea.

I have worked diligently to clean up Labor’s regional processing mess. The Government has removed every child from Nauru and PNG. Of the remaining adults none are in detention – they all live freely in their local communities. In total, there are now less than 240 individuals in Papua New Guinea and Nauru. We have removed all the children from onshore detention that were put there by Labor.

We have dealt with an unprecedented risk of foreign interference and espionage against our country, and committed significant resources, including the establishment of the joint agency Counter Foreign Interference Taskforce to protect our nation and our way of life.

Director-General Mike Burgess is one of the finest leaders in this space and ASIO will continue to achieve success under his watch.

Since strengthening the character test provision of the Migration Act in 2014, I have cancelled more than 6,300 visas of non-citizen criminals. This included cancellations for domestic violence related offences, child sex and child sexual exploitation offences, assault and armed robbery. These cancellations have made Australia a safer place.

AUSTRAC is a world leader and I am proud of their enforcement work and engagement with the private sector. Nicole Rose is an exceptional leader of that organisation.

There is no greater honour than to represent the men and women of the Australian Defence Forces in Government.

It comes at a crucial strategic time for our country and our region.

I am very much looking forward to continuing the work of my predecessor Linda Reynolds who has done an exceptional job in this portfolio.​​​​

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