Attorney-General's Department (Australia)
The Australian Attorney-General's Department is a department of the Government of Australia charged with the responsibility to serve the people of Australia by providing essential expert support to the Government in the maintenance and improvement of Australia's system of law and justice. It is also the central policy and co-coordinating element of the department and its associated agencies.
The Attorney-General's Department is one of seven original Commonwealth Departments of state, commencing with the Commonwealth of Australia on 1 January 1901. It is one of only three departments, along with Defence and Treasury, to have operated continuously under their original name and charter since Federation.
The department is organised into three groups, each headed by a Deputy Secretary. These Deputy Secretaries report to the Secretary who co-ordinates and devises departmental structure and policy.
These three groups are:
- Civil Justice and Legal Services
- National Security and Criminal Justice
- Strategic Policy and Coordination
|Order||Official||Official title||Date appointment
|Term in office||Ref(s)|
|1||Sir Robert Garran||Secretary of the
|1 January 1901||1932||31 years|||
|2||Sir George Knowles||1932||1946||14 years|||
|3||Sir Kenneth Bailey||1946||1964||18 years|||
|4||Ted Hook||1964||1970||6 years|||
|5||Sir Clarrie Harders OBE||1970||July 1979||9 years|||
|6||Alan Neaves||1979||1983||4 years|||
|7||Pat Brazil AO||16 March 1983||1989||6 years|||
|8||Alan Rose AO||1989||23 May 1994||5 years|||
|9||Stephen Skehill||23 May 1994||1998||4 years|||
|10||Tony Blunn AO||1998||17 December 1999||2 years|||
|11||Robert Cornall AO||24 January 2000||31 August 2008||8 years, 220 days|||
|12||Roger Wilkins AO||1 September 2008||incumbent||5 years, 227 days|||
Mission and outcomes
The mission of the department is "achieving a just and secure society". In pursuing this mission, the department works towards achieving *A just and secure society through the maintenance and improvement of Australia’s law and justice framework and its national security and emergency management system".
- Law and justice including -
- Legal services to the Commonwealth
- Criminal law and law enforcement
- National security, protective security policy and co-ordination
- Protective services at Commonwealth establishments and diplomatic and consular premises in Australia
- Commonwealth emergency management
- Natural disaster relief, recovery and mitigation policy and financial assistance including payments to the States and Territories and the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment
- Administrative support for Royal Commissions and certain other inquiries
- Critical infrastructure protection co-ordination
- Freedom of Information
- Cultural affairs, including movable cultural heritage and support for the arts
- Management of government records
The department does not provide legal advice to members of the public. While legislative drafting is listed in the Administrative Arrangements Order, the function was taken over by the Office of Parliamentary Counsel in July 2012.
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- Key People, National Archives of Australia, archived from the original on 11 February 2014
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- Title: Senator the Honourable Gareth Evans, Attorney General with Alan Neaves, Secretary of the Attorney General's Department and another, National Archives of Australia
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- New Secretary Appointed To Attorney-General’s Department, Australian Politics, 8 December 1999, archived from the original on 30 April 2013
- "Management and Accountability", Annual Report 2008–09 (Attorney-General's Department), archived from the original on 12 February 2014
- "New Secretary for Attorney-General’s Department", The Australian Journal of Emergency Management 24 (1), February 2009, archived from the original on 12 February 2014
- "Administrative Arrangements Order" (PDF). Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Commonwealth of Australia. 18 September 2013. Retrieved 27 October 2013.