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Providing advice (Purpose 2)

Providing advice on major domestic policy, national security and international matters.

Activities

In 2018–19, PM&C provided effective advice on major domestic policy, national security and international matters through the following activities outlined in the Corporate Plan 2018–2022:

  • Helping the Government achieve its medium-term fiscal strategy, including delivery of taxation and welfare reforms to drive improvements in economic and social outcomes for all Australians
  • Collaborating across governments and the private sector to deliver a reliable, secure and affordable energy sector for households and businesses
  • Working to ensure nationally consistent and consumer-focused services in major national systems such as education, health, aged care, welfare, disability and human services
  • Assisting the Minister for Women and the Prime Minister to advance gender equality through policy and program advice to reduce violence against women and increase women’s workforce participation and leadership representation
  • Supporting our rural communities, families and farming sectors by taking swift action in response to the current drought
  • Supporting the Government’s planning and delivery of nationally significant infrastructure priorities, including the Western Sydney Airport, Inland Rail, the National Broadband Network and Snowy Hydro 2.0
  • Designing and delivering improved policy and services underpinned by data, digital transformation and innovative approaches including behavioural insights, agile methods and experimental techniques
  • Supporting the Prime Minister to lead and deliver foreign policy outcomes that advance the Government’s Indo-Pacific agenda; reinforce Australia’s alliance with the United States; and step up Australia’s support for a more resilient Pacific region
  • Assisting the Prime Minister, through targeted efforts, to remove unwanted barriers to trade and investment by expanding and strengthening our trade relationships and promoting the global trading system
  • Working across governments, the private sector, academia and the community to maintain the integrity of Australia’s democratic institutions and critical infrastructure, including by enhancing Australia’s resilience to cyber threats and foreign interference
  • Providing advice on how best to foster a harmonious multicultural society through strong border security and coordinated national efforts to counter crime and terrorism threats
  • Supporting the establishment of a sovereign and sustainable Australian defence industrial base, in particular the naval shipbuilding program.

Analysis

During 2018–19, PM&C provided advice to the Government on a broad range of matters and issues, and collaborated effectively with a diverse group of domestic and international stakeholders. Anecdotal feedback from the Prime Minister’s Office, portfolio ministers and the executive indicated satisfaction with the quality and timeliness of advice in both meeting the needs of the Government and improving the wellbeing and safety of those living in Australia. External stakeholders surveyed from Commonwealth agencies, state and territory agencies and private sector organisations indicated a high level of satisfaction with the quality and timeliness of collaboration and policy coordination provided. In addition, the majority (over 70 per cent) of external stakeholder survey respondents confirmed that PM&C provided a whole-of-government perspective and added value in helping to achieve outcomes.

The Joint Agency Drought Taskforce is an example of how PM&C quickly established and coordinated across government a critical program to help those in need in rural areas (see Case study: Joint Agency Drought Taskforce ). The Taskforce was praised by the Prime Minister for getting financial assistance to people quickly by clearing away bureaucratic obstacles successfully. Similarly, the North Queensland Livestock Industry Recovery Agency was commended for getting on the ground quickly and providing assistance following the unprecedented flood in North Queensland which decimated the cattle industry in northern Australia.

PM&C, through the Office for Women, works across government to deliver policies and programs to advance gender equality and improve the lives of Australian women. In November 2018, PM&C successfully delivered the Women’s Economic Security Statement, which aims to improve the economic security of Australian women by delivering targeted measures (see Case study: Women’s Economic Security Statement ). The Statement was formed around three pillars essential to ensuring women’s economic security—increased workforce participation, higher earning potential, and increased economic independence—and backed by a $150 million net package of policies and significant reforms. PM&C, in collaboration with the Department of Social Services, coordinated the Commonwealth’s $328 million contribution to support the Fourth Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010–2022. One of the package’s proposals secured $2 million for PM&C to undertake a project to combat financial abuse (see Case study: Delivering the Commonwealth’s contribution to the Fourth Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010–2022 ).

Over 2018–19, PM&C continued to co-chair with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade the Deputy Secretary-led Interdepartmental Committee on Sustainable Development Goals, a cross- Government group that monitors Australia’s progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. PM&C also has responsibility for supporting the Australian Government to implement Goal 5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls). This work, led by the Office for Women, involves working with other departments to embed Goal 5 in both existing and emerging plans, policies, strategies and activities.

PM&C has supported policy development on key priorities, including the Government response to the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry in early 2019. Additionally, PM&C collaborated across Commonwealth and state and territory agencies to secure support for and signing of the National Schools Reform Agreement (see Case study: National Schools Reform Agenda ) and in delivering the Review of Settlement, Employment and Integration Outcomes for Refugees.

PM&C supported the Prime Minister with national security policy advice and a number of overseas travel briefings. For example, PM&C supported successful G20 and APEC meetings with world leaders (see Case Study: The 2018 G20 Leaders’ Summit in Buenos Aires and Case study: Australia’s support to Papua New Guinea to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit 2018 ); and assisted in shaping the Prime Minister’s leader-level international engagements in the Pacific with a focus on advancing the Government’s Indo-Pacific agenda (see Case Study: Pacific Step-Up ). As described under Purpose 1 we also provided support to the Prime Minister for overseas visits to 12 nations and managed the Guests of Government program of visits to Australia by Heads of State and Heads of Government.

PM&C has continued to use innovative approaches to improve policy outcomes and services for the people of Australia. This is demonstrated by the coordination and delivery of the National Drought Map (see Case study: The National Drought Map ), the Citizen Experience Survey and the work of the Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government (BETA).

BETA has also made strides in delivering on its mission to build behavioural insights capability across the Australian Public Service (APS). In 2018–19 BETA created an e-learning module that can train thousands of public servants with a single product, establishing a champions’ network across the public service to champion behavioural insights within agencies and an online forum that allows members of the behavioural insights network to engage and learn from each other directly (see Case study: Behavioural insights capability program ).

Achievement of Purpose 2 is demonstrated by internal evaluation through case studies and supported by results from a survey of external stakeholders and feedback from ministerial stakeholders.

Results: Criterion 2.1

Criterion 2.1

We work to improve essential services on which Australians rely.

Source

Corporate Plan 2018–2022

Target

  • The Australian Government relies on our expertise and innovative advice.
  • The public service and key stakeholders capitalise on our whole of government perspective to best deliver priorities.
  • Our advice is timely, of high quality and impactful

Result

Achieved

Achievement is supported by internal evaluation through case studies and feedback from external stakeholders through the stakeholder survey. Parliamentary Document Management System data confirms the timeliness of our advice achieved a result of 93 per cent against a target of 85 per cent. Below are case studies illustrating work undertaken in providing essential services on which Australians rely.

Case study: National Schools Reform Agenda

A high quality school education will equip students to succeed in an increasingly complex world and instil in our children and young adults the values, knowledge and skills required to be active, informed citizens and prepared for the challenges of tomorrow. To improve outcomes across all schools, the Australian Government and all states and territories have signed the National School Reform Agreement (NSRA), which sets out the long-term national goals for school education in Australia.

The NSRA, which will operate from 2019 to 2023, includes national reforms as well as jurisdiction specific reforms and funding arrangements that are broadly consistent across the country. The NSRA was informed by the findings of the Review to Achieve Education Excellence in Australian Schools and will help ensure the record levels of Commonwealth school funding are invested in maximising outcomes for students and that students with greatest need will continue to receive the highest level of funding.

In 2018–19 PM&C played a key role in supporting the signing of the NSRA by all state and territory governments.

PM&C worked closely with the Department of Education and the Treasury to progress negotiations through the formal Council of Australian Governments (COAG) process, and later in out-of-session processes with each state or territory. PM&C’s role was essential in ensuring negotiations were focused on more than just funding commitments. As a result of our involvement, bilateral negotiations have secured more significant reform commitments from states and territories, including those focused on lifting outcomes for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged student cohorts.

Case Study: Water infrastructure to improve the resilience of regional communities

In 2018–19 PM&C supported the Government’s priority to provide regional communities, farmers and industries with more secure, reliable and cost-effective water supplies.

PM&C provided advice to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet focusing on the economic and environmental viability of projects, and promoting better use of the Commonwealth’s investments to achieve long-term water reform. In developing this advice, PM&C used its networks to draw on expertise from across government and to ensure views ‘on the ground’ (including feedback provided through the Coordinator-General for Drought) were included.

This resulted in practical recommendations that were underpinned by consensus and a more consistent approach to the assessment of water projects. Commonwealth commitments to 10 feasibility studies and 11 capital projects were announced through the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund during 2018–19. PM&C’s advice has assisted with cross- government decision-making on the Murray-Darling Basin Plan implementation, drought response measures and the establishment of the new North Queensland Water Infrastructure Authority.

Case study: Joint Agency Drought Taskforce

On 24 August 2018, the Prime Minister declared that tackling the drought was his number one priority. He asked Major General Stephen Day DSC AM to establish and lead a Joint Agency Drought Taskforce in PM&C to drive a national response. A fully functioning multidisciplinary taskforce of around 25 staff was quickly formed. It was comprised of experts in agriculture, environment, health and social services; dedicated communications specialists, military planners and strategists; and central agency advisors with budget, coordination and Cabinet experience.

The taskforce used a hybrid of military planning and public service approaches to coordinate the Government’s response, with direct reporting to the Prime Minister and key ministers to accelerate decision-making and cut through bureaucratic processes.

The taskforce’s role was focused on better coordination and expediting assistance and support. Working across government, the taskforce:

  • simplified the Farm Household Allowance application process
  • delivered the National Drought Summit, bringing together for the first time the Prime Minister, state and territory premiers and chief ministers and over 80 delegates from industry, government, banks and not-for-profit organisations. The summit discussed ways to help farmers and regional communities facing drought and increase their resilience to drought in the future
  • negotiated a new National Drought Agreement which was signed at COAG in December 2018
  • established the National Drought Map (www.drought.map.gov.au) (see Case study: The National Drought Map )
  • expedited and advised on government processes and decisions to roll out drought programs, including:
    • extending the Drought Communities Programme to provide economic stimulus and support to drought-affected communities
    • establishing the Drought Communities Support Initiative to provide support through major charities to struggling farmers, families and farm-related workers
    • establishment of the Future Drought Fund to provide an ongoing funding source for future drought preparedness and resilience projects and research.
  • initiated more regular, consistent and accessible information across the Commonwealth on programs and advice, including the development of FarmHub (www.farmhub.org.au) with the Department of Agriculture and the National Farmers Federation
  • drove better coordination on education, mental health and charity to better understand issues and target responses, including negotiating the development of a pilot project for a network of mental health trusted advocates in drought-affected areas
  • worked with the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development to develop an outreach program to drought-affected areas to help communities to access government services
  • worked with key sporting codes to encourage activities to boost morale and cohesiveness in communities that were doing it tough
  • provided comprehensive advice to the Prime Minister on a Commonwealth long-term strategy for drought preparedness and resilience, involving extensive consultations and roundtables across the country.

The Prime Minister is focused on delivery and implementation and has pointed to the taskforce as an example of how he likes to work. The taskforce successfully cleared away bureaucratic obstacles and quickly got direct financial help to people.

National Drought Coordinator Major General Stephen Day DSC AM during a regional tour of Annabel and Stephen Tully’s property in Quilpie in south-west Queensland, 27 August 2018 (AAP image/Alex Ellinghausen).

Results: Criterion 2.2

Criterion 2.2

We work to stop violence against women and children and increase economic security for Australia’s women.

Source

Corporate Plan 2018–2022

Target

  • The Australian Government relies on our expertise and innovative advice.
  • The public service and key stakeholders capitalise on our whole of government perspective to best deliver priorities.
  • Our advice is timely, of high quality and impactful

Result

Substantially Achieved

Achievement is supported by internal evaluation through case studies and feedback from stakeholders. Parliamentary Document Management System data confirms the timeliness of our advice achieved a result of 78 per cent against a target of 85 per cent. The case study below illustrates the work being undertaken to stop violence against women and children.

Case study: Delivering the Commonwealth’s contribution to the Fourth Action Plan of the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010–2022

The National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010–2022 (the National Plan) aims to connect the work being done by all Australian governments, community organisations and individuals to reduce domestic, family and sexual violence against women. It recognises that violence against women requires action across all levels of government, multiple portfolios and the private sector.

The national plan sets out a framework for action over 12 years and is implemented through four three-year action plans. Each action plan sets out the specific policies which will be pursued through the course of the National Plan.

The Fourth Action Plan is the final three-year plan. It will include agreed actions and priorities from the Commonwealth and each state and territory. PM&C is working in collaboration with the Department of Social Services to develop the Fourth Action Plan.

To develop the Fourth Action Plan, PM&C has undertaken several significant pieces of work:

  • organised, along with the South Australian Government, a successful Reducing Violence Against Women and their Children Summit that brought together over 100 community leaders, key stakeholders, ministers and officials. Two meetings of Women’s Safety Ministers were also held as part of the summit.
  • developed and delivered to COAG a statement from summit delegates, which was written in collaboration with lead delegates from each jurisdiction. COAG agreed this statement would inform the development of the Fourth Action Plan.
  • worked with the Department of Social Services to lead the development of a $328 million funding package as the Commonwealth’s contribution to the Fourth Action Plan. This package provides record funding for women’s safety and involves initiatives across eight Commonwealth portfolios, including $2 million for PM&C to undertake a project to combat financial abuse.

PM&C will continue to work with the Department of Social Services to finalise the Fourth Action Plan, in collaboration with the states and territories. The Fourth Action Plan will be considered by Women’s Safety Ministers and First Ministers in the second half of 2019.

Case study: Women’s Economic Security Statement

On 20 November 2018 the then Minister for Women, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, delivered the inaugural Women’s Economic Security Statement. The statement is intended to improve the economic security of Australian women by delivering targeted measures, building on recent major Government reforms and accelerating cultural change and business support for gender equality. The statement was formed around three pillars essential to ensuring women’s economic security—increased workforce participation, higher earning potential, and increased economic independence.

The statement, backed by a $150 million net package of policies and significant reforms, was driven and coordinated by the Office for Women, with measures across 12 portfolios and agencies. PM&C is continuing to progress the implementation of initiatives under the statement.

Results: Criterion 2.3

Criterion 2.3

We provide national leadership on major domestic, international and national security policy and program delivery.

Source

Corporate Plan 2018–22

Target

  • The Australian Government relies on our expertise and innovative advice.
  • The public service and key stakeholders capitalise on our whole of government perspective to best deliver priorities.
  • Our advice is timely, of high quality and impactful.

Result

Achieved

Achievement is supported by internal evaluation through case studies and feedback from external stakeholders through stakeholder survey. Parliamentary Document Management System data confirms the timeliness of our advice achieved a result of 93 per cent against a target of 85 per cent.

Case Study: Pacific Step-Up

International Division is driving the Prime Minister’s agenda to deliver the Pacific Step-up (Step-up)—a strategy to engage the Pacific with greater intensity and ambition, deliver more integrated and innovative policy and make further, substantial long-term investments in the region’s development. The Prime Minister has been clear that supporting a Pacific that is prosperous, peaceful, independent and sovereign is front and centre of Australia’s strategic outlook and foreign policy.

The Step-up focuses on three priorities: promoting greater economic cooperation and integration; tackling shared security challenges; and strengthening people-to-people links. Under this framework, International Division has supported major whole-of-government Step-up initiatives by providing considered and timely policy advice to the Prime Minister and his office to support his engagement on Pacific policy matters; working with agencies to drive implementation of initiatives; and providing high-quality policy and program support for the Prime Minister’s international travel and engagement with foreign leaders.

International Division has worked with line agencies to deliver key initiatives under the Step-up, including the expansion of the Pacific Labour Scheme to improve skills across Pacific communities and provide workers to fill shortages in rural and regional Australia; the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP), which is a $2 billion initiative that will use grant funding and loans to support transformative infrastructure in Pacific Island countries and Timor-Leste; a joint initiative with the government of Papua New Guinea at Lombrum Naval Base; partnering with Fiji to develop Blackrock Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Camp; and new programs on church partnerships, education and sports to strengthen community links.

PM&C has supported the Prime Minister by providing high-quality briefing, coordinating protocol and logistics, and working across government to deliver prominent announcements for the Prime Minister’s substantive engagements with Pacific counterparts. Further information on these engagements are under Purpose 1 (see Case study: Official visits and events ).

Case Study: The 2018 G20 Leaders’ Summit in Buenos Aires

The 2018 G20 Leaders’ Summit was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina (from 30 November to 1 December). At the summit, the Prime Minister led discussions on the multilateral trading system. He was supported by Dr David Gruen, Australia’s G20 Sherpa.

For the first time, the G20 leaders called for World Trade Organization (WTO) reform, which was a successful outcome for Australia:

“International trade and investment are important engines of growth, productivity, innovation, job creation and development. We recognize the contribution that the multilateral trading system has made to that end. The system is currently falling short of its objectives and there is room for improvement. We therefore support the necessary reform of the WTO to improve its functioning. We will review progress at our next Summit.”

PM&C was central to delivering the Prime Minister’s agenda in the lead-up to the summit. In addition to negotiating with other G20 members, PM&C led consultation across the Australian Government, and engaged think tanks and academics to ensure successful policy outcomes and logistical coordination.

Case study: Australia’s support to Papua New Guinea to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit 2018

In 2018 Papua New Guinea (PNG) hosted the APEC Summit. It was the first time that PNG hosted the event.

In 2016 PNG requested security assistance from Australia to support their hosting of the summit. Australia’s agreed package of support included capacity building for relevant PNG agencies, including significant ongoing support to the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary, defence, immigration and customs which helped deliver a successful and safe event.

PM&C formed a cross-agency taskforce and played a crucial role in consolidating support from a number of areas including:

  • high-end security capabilities during APEC Leaders’ Week across maritime, aviation and counter-terrorism domains
  • capacity building to PNG’s security, border, intelligence, cybersecurity and transportation agencies
  • policy development assistance.

The financial assistance provided to PNG has been sustained beyond APEC and includes $14.4 million in cybersecurity support. Australia’s support to PNG was an extension of our deep and enduring historical, political, defence and economic ties and our commitment to strengthening Australia’s engagement with the Pacific.

Case study: Behavioural insights capability program

In 2018–19, the Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government (BETA) within PM&C made significant strides in its aim to build behavioural insights capability in the APS. BETA takes a collaborative approach, working closely with other agencies to ensure that its work is relevant to the wide range of existing capabilities, experience and responsibilities across the APS.

In order to meet its objective of measuring and building APS behavioural insights capability:

  • BETA developed an e-learning program, designed to teach participants the basics of behavioural insights and its application to Australian public policy. The program will extend BETA’s reach well beyond its face-to-face training. 800 people have registered for the program.
  • BETA has developed and maintained two strong APS behavioural insights networks: the Behavioural Insights Practitioners’ Network and the Behavioural Insights Champions’ Network. The practitioners’ network brings together all APS behavioural teams in a peer-learning environment to address common challenges, share learning and identify opportunities. The champions’ network comprises 61 influential and passionate staff representing 40 APS agencies. BETA is investing in this group to create a self-sustaining network with the skills and motivation to drive the uptake of behavioural insights within their agency.
  • BETA created Behavioural Insights Connect, an online forum which encourages collaboration and peer learning among behavioural insights champions and practitioners across the APS.
  • BETA launched a new online Behavioural Insights Learn Hub, an online digital space accessible to the public via the BETA website. It is a curated collection of behavioural insights guidance and training materials, drawing on BETA’s products as well as those prepared by experts from all over the world.
  • BETA has measured behavioural insights capability across the APS through Behavioural Insights Opportunity Scans. This new stream of work includes surveys, interviews and workshops to measure existing behavioural insights capability within an APS department. The results inform the development of targeted materials to support further skill development and policy improvement.

Results: Criterion 2.4

Criterion 2.4

Support timely, relevant and effective collaboration and coordination across government and external parties on major domestic economic, social, and innovation policy, national security and international matters.

Source

Portfolio Budget Statements 2018–19 (page 31)

Target

Feedback from Commonwealth agencies, state and territory agencies and private sector organisations demonstrates a high level of satisfaction with the quality and timeliness of collaboration and policy coordination provided.

Result

Achieved

External stakeholder survey results indicated a high level2 of satisfaction (73 per cent) across Purpose 2.

2 The PM&C Corporate Plan 2018–22 defines a high level of stakeholder satisfaction as a satisfaction rating of 71 per cent.

Case study: The National Drought Map

The Central Analytics Hub (CAH) is a unit within PM&C that leads analytics projects using Australian Government data. It is funded under the Data Integration Partnerships for Australia.

In September 2018, CAH provided technical support to the Joint Agency Drought Taskforce, which was working to drive a national response to drought.

CAH proposed using an instance of the National Map Terria Mapping Platform to consolidate spatial data related to drought. The map allows users to overlay data and compare different geographical regions. Examples include:

  • people-centred information, including the uptake of government benefits
  • services information, including the location of the mobile drought service centres
  • climatic information, including rainfall and weather patterns over time.

The map has broken down cultural barriers to sharing data and innovation across government, between jurisdictions and with the public. The processes of bringing key players together fostered a culture of data sharing and moving to an ‘open data first’ mindset within Commonwealth, state and local government agencies. All agencies involved now have a better understanding of the needs of their data users, and think about ways to make data more accessible and usable. The map:

  • contributes to a digitally enabled APS, with sophisticated systems
  • contributes to regular release of, and transparency around, data, analysis and research
  • gives ‘citizen scientists’ the opportunity to do their own analysis on drought conditions
  • builds on a culture of innovation internal to the APS (promoting a form of interactive briefing) and also innovation for the Australian public to interact with data that directly relates to them.

Case study: Best Practice Guide to Applying Data Sharing Principles for government agencies

The Office of the National Data Commissioner (ONDC) within PM&C developed a set of Data Sharing Principles, based on the internationally recognised Five Safes Framework, to assist agencies to safely and effectively share public sector data.

The Data Sharing Principles provide a tool that government agencies can use to complement existing legislative data protections. The principles will be enshrined as one of the key protections under the Data Sharing and Release Act.

ONDC, partnering with the Australian Bureau of Statistics, produced a best practice guide that explains how to apply each of the principles and assists agencies to consider a range of factors when deciding whether, and in what circumstances, data should be shared. The ONDC sought comments on the early drafts of the guide from across the APS, state and territory government agencies, and academics.

Challenges included working with various stakeholders who had different views about the content. For example, some stakeholders wanted very prescriptive guidance, while others thought high-level guidance would be sufficient. ONDC addressed these challenges through genuine consultation with a broad group of stakeholders. It refined and retested the materials until they were appropriate for various audiences.

The Best Practice Guide to Applying Data Sharing Principles was released in March 2019 and promoted through the National Data Advisory Council, the Data Champions Network, state and territory agencies and LinkedIn. It was well received by agencies and the media as a key step towards the future legislative package.

Case study: Taskforce to Combat Terrorist and Extreme Violent Material Online

On 15 March 2019, a gunman carried out terrorist attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The Government was swift to condemn the attacks. On 26 March 2019, the Prime Minister chaired a summit in Brisbane to discuss Australian Government and industry responses to the online sharing of content related to the terrorist attack.

The main outcome of the summit was the formation of the Taskforce to Combat Terrorist and Extreme Violent Material Online, of which PM&C was a co-chair. The taskforce was comprised of Australian and New Zealand government officials and industry representatives from Facebook, Google, Twitter, Microsoft, Optus, Telstra, Amazon, TPG, Vodafone and Communications Alliance. Its objective was to provide advice to government on practical, tangible and effective measures to combat the uploading and dissemination of terrorist and extreme violent material online.

Within three months (in late June 2019) the taskforce delivered a report containing actions and recommendations across five streams: prevention; detection and removal; transparency; deterrence; and capacity building. The report was welcomed by industry and is part of the Government’s overall commitment to ensuring the online safety of Australians. The report also underpinned the Government’s international agenda to drive greater action by digital platforms to crack down on sharing terrorist content online.

During this fast-paced process, PM&C supported the Prime Minister in his ambition to do everything the Government could, both domestically and with Australia’s international partners, to stop social media platforms being weaponised by violent terrorists and extremists. In June 2019, world leaders at the G20 summit in Osaka issued a statement calling on online platforms to do more to counter live streaming and distribution of terrorist attacks and violent extremism conducive to terrorism. The Prime Minister was a driving force behind this G20 statement and PM&C was a vital link in ensuring the Prime Minister’s ambitions for the G20 statement were well informed by what was being achieved domestically through the taskforce.

This work required an exceptional level of coordination and collaboration across three divisions of PM&C—the Industry, Infrastructure and Environment Division, the Economic Division and the National Security Division—and respective portfolio agencies. It took into account the myriad of social, economic and political issues impacted by social media platforms.

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro (L) and Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison (R) attend the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, 29 June 2019 (AAP image/Lukas Coch).

Through its role as co-chair of the taskforce and its contribution to the secretariat team, PM&C championed a collaborative and dedicated approach to this critical work. Instituting a cross- agency co-chair arrangement with the Department of Communications and the Arts enabled joint leadership, and housing the secretariat (comprising PM&C, Department of Communications and the Arts, Department of Home Affairs and Attorney-General’s Department officers) within the Department of Communications and the Arts enabled uninterrupted access to its knowledge and expertise in delivering on online safety matters. This model was successful and has been suggested for future taskforces.