​Treasurer assumes interim responsibility for Australia's national security

After failing to take Liberal Party leadership from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Peter Dutton has resigned from his post as the head of Australia's Home Affairs portfolio.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison has on Tuesday been handed interim responsibility for the Department of Home Affairs, after the newly minted superministry's leader Peter Dutton handed in his resignation earlier in the day.

Dutton assumed the inaugural role of minister for Home Affairs after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull last year created the new portfolio that combined the functions of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), Australian Federal Police (AFP), Border Force, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), Austrac, and the office of transport security.

However, on Tuesday, Dutton was unsuccessful in taking leadership of the Australian Liberal Party from Turnbull when an internal party vote saw the prime minister retain his title as chief, and swiftly handed in his notice to relinquish the Home Affairs portfolio and take a seat on the backbench.

Turnbull opened Parliamentary Question Time a few hours later by thanking Dutton for his time as the Minister for Home Affairs.

Dutton was sworn in as the minister for Immigration and Border Protection after a Cabinet reshuffle back in December 2014.

Morrison, who has held responsibility for Treasury since September 2015 after assuming the role when Turnbull shuffled the Cabinet following a successful leadership challenge of former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, will add the Home Affairs portfolio until further notice.

Home Affairs is responsible for the operation of a central hub of a facial recognition system that will link up identity-matching systems between government agencies in Australia.

The Australia-wide initiative will allow state and territory law-enforcement agencies to have access to the country's new face-matching services to access passport, visa, citizenship, and driver licence images from other jurisdictions.


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