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Purpose 4: Enhancing Australia’s international and national security

Summary

In 2020–21, PM&C achieved all 4 performance measures under Purpose 4. The detailed performance analyses and case studies below demonstrate PM&C’s performance against each key activity, measure and target to support the purpose of enhancing Australia’s international and national security.

Results: Key Activity 4.1

Key activity

Measure

Target

Support the Prime Minister’s engagement with foreign counterparts in order to shape Australia’s strategic environment and advance our national interest.

The Prime Minister is supported to shape Australia’s international environment and pursue the Government’s agenda through timely, high-quality advice.

Decisions in relation to foreign policy are made and implemented on the basis of Australia’s national interest, and take account of a full range of social, economic and security equities.

Implementation of commitments made by the Prime Minister to foreign leaders.

The Prime Minister is equipped to engage overseas counterparts, with a focus on:

  • implementing the Government’s top foreign policy priorities such as the Pacific Step-up.
  • strengthening and elevating new and existing strategic and economic partnerships.
  • advancing Australia’s national interests in multilateral organisations and standard-setting bodies.
  • delivering leader-level commitments by working in partnership with agencies from across the APS.

Source

Corporate Plan 2020–24, pp 20–22

Result

Achieved

Methodology

Case study, data analysis and stakeholder survey

Analysis

PM&C achieved all measures under this key activity by providing high-quality support to the Prime Minister through a significantly increased volume of international engagements.

In 2020–21, the Prime Minister undertook 3 overseas visits to Japan, New Zealand and the G7 Summit, with stops in Singapore, London and Paris (see the case study below).

However, because of the challenges of international travel posed by COVID-19, the Prime Minister’s in-person international engagement was restricted during this period. As a result, the Prime Minister carried out an unprecedented number of virtual leader-level engagements. With the support of timely and high-quality advice from International Division, the Prime Minister undertook around 140 virtual international engagements with foreign leaders to shape Australia’s strategic environment and advance our national interests. This included advocacy with counterparts to support the election of Australia’s candidate, Mathias Cormann, as the Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

These engagements focused on delivering Australian health and economic support to our Pacific family, strengthening and elevating new and existing strategic and economic relationships in the Indo-Pacific, and advancing our national interests through multilateral organisations and groups.

Each of these engagements required close coordination with other agencies to bring together advice that reflected a whole-of-government position and took account of the full range of social, economic and security equities. The quality of the advice and support PM&C provided to the Prime Minister was evidenced by the highly positive response of external stakeholders surveyed.

Case study: Prime Minister’s visit to Japan – the Japan–Australia Leaders’ Meeting, 2020

In November 2020, the Prime Minister travelled to Japan to attend the annual Japan–Australia Leaders’ Meeting. This was his first international travel since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

International engagement remains vital to Australia’s social, economic and security interests both at home and in the region. Australia and Japan are Special Strategic Partners and have a shared vision of an open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific, through leader-level engagement. This visit revitalised security, trade and economic ties for a new era against the backdrop of geostrategic change and COVID-19 recovery, and cemented a strong relationship with Japan's new Prime Minister.

PM&C led a whole-of-government effort to deliver concrete visit outcomes and high-quality, comprehensive briefing to support the Prime Minister’s visit and advance Australia’s national interests. We worked with counterparts in Tokyo to determine COVID-safe procedures that enabled the Prime Minister to establish a warm working relationship with Prime Minister Suga and meet a range of other stakeholders. Australia and Japan reached in-principle agreement on a landmark defence treaty, the Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA), which will further deepen the countries’ strategic and security relationship. The RAA is Japan’s first such agreement and opens new horizons in our Special Strategic Partnership.

The leaders also agreed to further cooperation on low-emissions technologies and economic security, creating a platform for enhanced engagement on these key Government priorities. This includes collaboration on space and cyber issues, digital and critical technologies, infrastructure (including 5G networks and submarine cables) and resource security (including the establishment of supply chains of critical minerals).

The joint statement from the leaders’ meeting set out an ambitious roadmap for future cooperation. PM&C is working across government to take commitments forward and drive ambition for the Special Strategic Partnership before the next meeting, expected to take place in late 2021.

The Prime Minister’s visit to Japan established an important COVID-safe model to inform future planning for the Prime Minister’s international travel.

Results: Key Activity 4.2

Key activity

Measure

Target

Provide comprehensive, influential and timely advice and coordination on national security, with an emphasis on:

  • counter-terrorism and crisis management;
  • border security, law enforcement, cyber security and counter foreign interference initiatives;
  • defence operations and capability, including on the national naval shipbuilding enterprise; and
  • the Indo-Pacific.

Decisions in relation to national security matters are made and implemented on the basis of consideration of Australia’s national interests and the full range of equities, including social, economic and security interests and implemented in a timely way.

Whole-of government response during times of crisis is coordinated seamlessly.

  • PM&C’s advice enhances the Government’s delivery of national security.
  • PM&C ensures that a whole of government response is coordinated effectively during times of crisis.

Source

Corporate Plan 2020–24, pp 20–22

Result

Achieved

Methodology

Evaluation through data analysis, case study and stakeholder survey

Analysis

PM&C has achieved its targets under this key activity by effectively engaging with Commonwealth agencies to ensure delivery of the Government’s national security priorities.

In 2020–21, there was an increased focus on working with state and territory governments on national security issues, implementation of the Cyber Security Strategy following the Prime Minister’s announcement, and pivoting resources to assist with the Government’s response to COVID-19.

PM&C provided dedicated support to the Prime Ministerial Special Adviser on Naval Shipbuilding, Professor Donald Winter, to advise on the efficient delivery of the naval shipbuilding program.

Our engagement with external stakeholders has been effective and received positive feedback.

Case study: Establishment of the First Secretaries Group on National Security

The complex and rapidly changing security environment calls for a coordinated and joined-up approach by the Commonwealth and states and territories to address threats to Australia’s national security.

The First Secretaries Group on National Security – which comprises secretaries of first ministers’ departments – was created to address this. The objective of the group is to pursue a whole-of-nation approach to national security through regular high-level engagement with the states and territories.

In October 2020, PM&C developed a purpose statement in consultation with states and territories that committed the Commonwealth and jurisdictions to improved engagement on national security matters.

The Secretary of PM&C chaired quarterly meetings with secretaries of first ministers’ departments that facilitated information sharing, including through briefings from heads of Commonwealth national security agencies.

PM&C facilitated a tabletop exercise in which participants discussed a cybersecurity incident impacting critical infrastructure. The exercise aimed to build understanding of existing frameworks, examine their effectiveness and clarify roles in cyber incident response.

The creation of this group has fostered greater awareness of Australia’s most significant national security threats and increased states’ and territories’ understanding of national and sub-national security threats in order to respond to them. It has also provided opportunity for consultation on Commonwealth national security policy proposals that directly impact states and territories.

The exercise strengthened understanding between first secretaries on their responsibilities for managing and responding to cyber security incidents and highlighted the need to utilise existing architecture in crisis scenarios.

This activity demonstrates our achievement directly against the measure. It contributes towards ensuring that decisions in relation to national security matters are made and implemented in a way that increases Australia’s national resilience to emerging threats. It helps ensure that a whole-of government response during times of crisis is coordinated seamlessly.

Results: Key Activity 4.3

Key activity

Measure

Target

Provide comprehensive, influential and timely advice and coordination on Defence Capability, operations and strategic policy, including the establishment of a sovereign and sustainable Australian defence industrial base.

PM&C supports the delivery of the 2020 Defence Strategic Update and the associated Integrated Investment Program.

  • PM&C advice enhances the Government’s delivery of Defence capability.
  • The advice considers the views of all relevant stakeholders, including industry and the states and territories, where appropriate.
  • The program is delivered to agreed deadlines.

Source

Corporate Plan 2020–24, pp 20–22

Result

Achieved

Methodology

Evaluation through stakeholder survey

Analysis

PM&C has achieved its measure and targets under this key activity by working closely with the Department of Defence (Defence) to support implementation of the 2020 Defence Strategic Update and delivering the associated Integrated Investment Program, which outlines and manages Defence’s future investment in Australian Defence Force capability.

Both the Defence Strategic Update and the Force Structure Plan (which incorporated an updated Integrated Investment Program) were successfully launched by the Prime Minister on 1 July 2020.

PM&C worked with the Cabinet Secretary’s office and Defence on an ongoing basis throughout the year to ensure the Government was presented with biannual updates on the implementation of the Integrated Investment Program. PM&C also worked closely with Defence on an ongoing basis throughout the year to ensure program risks, pressures and challenges to delivery were communicated.

PM&C provided dedicated support to the Prime Ministerial Special Adviser on Naval Shipbuilding, Professor Donald Winter, to advise on the efficient delivery of the naval shipbuilding program.

PM&C continues to receive positive feedback from senior Defence stakeholders about its involvement with the Defence Investment Committee and our level of support in implementing the Integrated Investment Program through the government committee process. Senior Defence stakeholders who were surveyed indicated a highly positive view of PM&C’s performance.

Results: Key Activity 4.4

Key activity

Measure

Target

Support the Prime Minister as chair of NSC to secure decisions and drive implementation of:

  • sovereign capabilities and countering foreign interference;
  • cyber security refresh;
  • strengthening protections for critical infrastructure; and
  • implementation of the Government’s highest foreign policy priorities, such as the Pacific Step-up.

A focused NSC agenda, with clear decision making and management processes and effective implementation of decisions.

  • Quality of advice received supports the NSC agenda.

Source

Corporate Plan 2020–24, pp 20–22

Result

Achieved

Methodology

Evaluation through data analysis and feedback

Analysis

PM&C achieved its target under this key activity, noting the ongoing and fluid nature of national security matters.

While COVID-19 was a high priority in 2020–21, we supported the Prime Minister, as Chair of the National Security Committee (NSC), to make progress on key national security priorities unrelated to COVID-19.

Over the past year, PM&C continued to deliver support for the NSC and NSC subcommittee meetings. We produced high-quality and timely minutes of those meetings.

PM&C implemented streamlined processes, such as reporting and automated alerts through the CabNet+ system, to ensure timely and accurate advice is provided to key stakeholders to support the decision-making process.