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
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 during 2020–21
Position title / Position held
Date of commencement
Date of cessation
Chris Moraitis PSM
1 July 2020
16 December 20201
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.
The following organisational chart shows the operational groups that carry out the work of the department, as at 30 June 2021.
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:
We are a department of state and lead a large and diverse portfolio that provides expert advice and services. As at 30 June 2021, the portfolio included the following agencies and statutory office holders.
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:
alternative dispute resolution
courts and tribunals
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
freedom of information
management of government records
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.