Ministerial Direction

Minister for Justice, the Hon Michael Keenan MP

This Ministerial Direction is issued under subsection 37(2) of the Australian Federal Police Act 1979 (the AFP Act) and outlines the Government's priorities and expectations for the Australian Federal Police (AFP).  It supersedes and revokes the Direction issued on 1 July 2010.

The AFP is the Australian Government's primary law enforcement agency.  The AFP's functions are set out in section 8 of the AFP Act.  Under subsection 37(1) of the AFP Act, the Commissioner of the AFP has the general administration and control of the operations of the AFP.

The Government is committed to effective delivery of its policies.  The AFP can assist the Government to achieve its priorities by supporting the Government's approach to making Australian communities safer, tackling serious and organised crime and ensuring Australia's borders are secure.  The AFP will continue to play a key role in implementing the Government's policies to tackle crime, both through its operations and its ongoing collaboration with State, Territory and international partners and across Government.

My expectation is that the AFP will deliver on the following key strategic priorities:

  • countering the threat of terrorism and violent extremism to the safety and security of Australians and Australian interests, inside and outside Australia
  • preventing, deterring, disrupting and investigating serious and organised criminal activities impacting on the interests of the Australian community, including through collaborating with State and Territory law enforcement to ensure that they have access to Commonwealth intelligence and operational resources
  • maintaining focus on investigating Commonwealth offences, particularly those relating to firearms and foreign bribery
  • leading the Commonwealth's efforts to disrupt organised criminal groups by restraining and seizing their assets and unexplained wealth
  • contributing effectively to Australia's border management and security, particularly by protecting Australia from people smuggling through prevention, deterrence and disruption
  • contributing effectively to the Government's international law enforcement interests including matters involving cooperation with key international partners to combat transnational organised crime and corruption, responses to emergencies, law and order capacity building missions, and participation in internationally mandated peace operations
  • countering the threat of cyber-crime, including through achieving and maintaining a technological edge over criminals
  • leading and managing the law enforcement and crime prevention aspects of aviation security
  • ensuring that specific individuals, establishments and events, identified by the Australian Government as being at risk, are protected
  • where possible, identifying emerging criminal threats to the national interest and, for issues in which the AFP has operational expertise, advising on appropriate approaches, to counter such threats
  • providing leadership to, and working with, other agencies to actively protect Commonwealth revenue
  • by taking a leadership role and collaborating with State and Territory law enforcement, to deliver national law enforcement initiatives to disrupt the operation of criminal gangs, reduce the proliferation of child exploitation material and reduce the harm caused by illicit drugs
  • coordinating effectively with the Attorney-General's Department to provide a joined up portfolio approach on law and justice aid issues
  • contributing effectively to whole-of-government efforts to prevent Australia from being a safe haven for proceeds of crime, including from corruption, or used for money laundering purposes, and
  • actively contributing to broader Government programs or initiatives to ensure that those are informed by the AFP's operational experience.

In support of these priorities, I continue to have high expectations that the AFP will operate in a way which promotes collaboration and demonstrates accountability and responsiveness.

In particular, I encourage the AFP to:

  • continue its extensive cooperation and collaboration with law enforcement and other partners across the Commonwealth, States and Territories in developing, implementing and managing national security, law enforcement and crime prevention policies, and operational activities, including through information and intelligence sharing
  • continue to work cooperatively with other agencies within the Attorney-General's portfolio, in particular the Attorney-General's Department, Australian Crime Commission, and across Government
  • be responsive to any requests for information from my Office and the Attorney-General's Department and alerting me to any significant events related to the AFP's activities through clear, comprehensive and timely advice.
  • keep me informed in a timely, comprehensive and regular way about the AFP's performance and about issues affecting its capacity to achieve its priorities and functions
  • demonstrate best practice in corporate governance, protective security and information management and comply with relevant legislative requirements, and
  • maintain and enhance a professional culture based on AFP core values and continuous improvement.

Michael Keenan
12 May 2014