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About the department

This annual report is for the 2020–21 financial year, based on the structure and activities of the Attorney‑General’s Department as at 30 June 2021.

Purposes

As outlined in the Corporate Plan 2020–24, we have 2 purposes:

1. Achieve a just and secure society through the maintenance and improvement of Australia's law, justice, security and integrity frameworks.

2. Facilitate jobs growth through policies and programs that promote fair, productive and safe workplaces.

Roles and functions

We provide the best available legal and policy advice and evidence to our ministers, the Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations and the Assistant Minister to the Attorney-General and Assistant Minister for Industrial Relations.

We play a central role in ensuring Australia is a prosperous, fair and cohesive nation through our key functions and activities:

  • We deliver high-quality legal services, provide high-quality policy advice and oversee the effective and efficient provision of legal services to the Australian Government and its entities.
  • We undertake casework relating to international crime cooperation, federal offenders, international family law, private international law and complaints under the United Nations human rights conventions in order to support Australia’s law and justice frameworks.
  • We design, implement, maintain, evaluate and reform legal and policy frameworks to promote better outcomes for people in Australia in a range of areas including rights, justice, security, integrity and workplaces.
  • We administer programs that improve access to justice for vulnerable people, provide financial assistance to workers whose entitlements have not been paid as a result of liquidation or bankruptcy, and promote the safety, wellbeing and productivity of people at work.
  • We establish and provide support to royal commissions and other bodies to assist them to commence their enquiries in a timely manner consistent with their terms of reference.

Outcomes and programs

In 2020–21, we administered 2 outcomes that mirror our purposes across 10 programs, as shown in the following table.

Outcomes and programs during 2020–21

Outcomes

Programs

Outcome 1: A just and secure society through the maintenance and improvement of Australia’s law, justice, security and integrity frameworks.

Program 1.1 Operating Expenses - Civil Justice and Legal Services

Program 1.2 Operating Expenses - National Security and Criminal Justice

Program 1.3 Australian Government Solicitor

Program 1.4 Justice Services

Program 1.5 Family Relationships

Program 1.6 Indigenous Legal and Native Title Assistance

Program 1.7 Royal Commissions

Outcome 2: Facilitate jobs growth through policies and programs that promote fair, productive and safe workplaces.

Program 2.1 Operating Expenses - Industrial Relations

Program 2.2 Workplace Support

Program 2.3 Workers’ Compensation Payments 1

1 Program 2.3 covers the Comcare Workers’ Compensation Scheme and is managed by Comcare. Comcare reports against this program and associated performance measures in its annual report.

Accountable Authority

Accountable Authority during 2020–21

Name

Position title / Position held

Date of commencement

Date of cessation

Chris Moraitis PSM

Secretary

1 July 2020

16 December 20201

Iain Anderson

Secretary

17 December 2020

30 June 2021

1 Mr Moraitis concluded his role as Secretary on 3 January 2021. He was on leave from 17 December 2020 and did not return to the role after this date. Accordingly, Mr Anderson commenced in the role on 17 December 2020.

Structure

The following organisational chart shows the operational groups that carry out the work of the department, as at 30 June 2021.

Attorney-General’s Department organisational structure as at 30 June 2021 Visual diagram of the department’s organisation structure headed by the acting Secretary, Ian Anderson, that shows the delivery groups for Outcome 1 and 2. Outcome 1 includes the Australian Government Solicitor, the Legal and Services Group consisting of Families and Legal System Division, Legal Services Division and Royal Commission secretariats, as well as the Integrity and International Groups consisting of Integrity and Security Division and the International Division. The delivery group for Outcome 2 is the Industrial Relations Group consisting of Employee Entitlements Safeguard and Policy Division, the Employment Conditions Division, the Safety and Industry Policy Division and the Industrial Relations Legal Division. The department’s corporate functions are carried out by the Enabling Services Group consisting of Corporate Services division, Hunan Resources Division, Information Division and Strategy and Governance Division.

In addition to supporting the department, the Enabling Services Group provides corporate services to some portfolio agencies including the Office of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor and the Australian Law Reform Commission.

In 2020–21, we also provided administrative support to the:

Ministerial responsibilities

As at 30 June 2021, the department’s ministers were Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations and Senator the Hon Amanda Stoker, Assistant Minister to the Attorney-General and Assistant Minister for Industrial Relations. Areas of responsibility cover:

  • law and justice including:
    • administrative law
    • alternative dispute resolution
    • bankruptcy
    • constitutional law
    • courts and tribunals
    • human rights
    • international law
    • law reform
    • legal assistance
    • legislative drafting
    • marriage and family law
    • personal property securities
  • legal services to the Commonwealth
  • administration of criminal justice, including:
    • criminal law legislation
    • matters relating to prosecution
    • sentencing and management of federal offenders
    • international crime cooperation, including extradition and mutual assistance in criminal matters
  • protective security policy
  • administrative support for royal commissions and certain other inquiries
  • privacy
  • freedom of information
  • management of government records
  • native title
  • fraud and anti-corruption policy
  • whole-of-government integrity policy and activities
  • work health and safety, rehabilitation and compensation
  • workplace relations policy development, advocacy and implementation
  • promotion of flexible workplace relations policies and practices, including workplace productivity.

For more information, visit the website of the Attorney-General and the Minister for Industrial Relations.