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Absolutely not.  Work with domestic agencies, under strict supervision—and not simply Defence supervision and leadership—and legal constraints: okay.  But not, as it is, simply extending its range to domestic intell.

The argument that DSD should have such powers because ‘OMG, something might happen‘ relies on a silver bullet approach to threat assessment and response.  It hardly reflects a considered judgement, which is the responsibility of good government, of weighing the assumed benefits—that something actually might be captured, identified correctly, and acted upon in time, and in the absence of any other sources—with the costs associated with allowing a military-led and oriented organisation to collect, assess and make its own judgements about the activities of Australian citizens in Australia.

The Australian Government would be better advised to fix the existing linkages—as above, and as Dupont appears to be arguing.  And it should be focussing on understanding the threats and their behaviours in the new security environment, how best they should be collected through the full spectrum of intell, and how structures might need to change.  For example, if—if—there is a need to collect domestic intell through DSD’s capabilities, there is no reason why DSD—perhaps renamed the Australian Signals Directorate—should remain within Defence.

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