Today the Attorney-General and the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection will travel to Washington DC to attend the Quintet of Attorneys General and Five Country Ministerial meeting.
It is the first time these series of meetings are being held jointly, highlighting the importance of close collaboration and cooperation with our security and intelligence partners – the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and the United States – in responding to increased global security threats.
The Attorney-General will share Australia’s experience in working to balance the rule of law with individual liberties at a time when Australia faces a range of complex and evolving threats to national security.
While in Washington DC, the Attorney-General will have bilateral meetings with his counterparts, meet with the Director of the CIA, Director of the FBI, Director of National Intelligence, Director of the National Counterterrorism Centre and the Assistant for the President on Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, to discuss efforts to combat violent extremism and stop the growth of ISIL.
This Five Country Ministerial (FCM) meeting is an opportunity for the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection to cement immigration and border protection cooperation as a key part of the broader national security dialogue under the Five Country arrangements. Talks will focus on issues including enhancing the facilitation of legitimate travellers through mechanisms such as trusted traveller programmes and improved visa processes.
All Five Country partners are facing similar global challenges of terrorism, foreign fighters, and the illegal movement of people and goods. Australia, as a priority, will seek support from the group to leverage its combined capabilities through enhanced information and intelligence exchange. This includes discussing the long-term objective of 100 per cent collection and sharing of biometric information to maintain the integrity of our borders.
The Five Country partners will discuss how they can better work together to ensure that refugees are processed as efficiently and effectively as possible, through enhanced information sharing for visa and refugee screening purposes.
Recent terrorist attacks and failed plots around the world reinforce how vital it is for Australia to work closely with our security and intelligence partners internationally, and to share Australia’s experiences and approaches in combatting the threat from extremists. Resolving the tension between maximising personal freedoms and protecting public safety is a continuing objective of all democracies.
The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection will also meet the US Secretary for Homeland Security, US Customs and Border Protection Service, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He will also participate in bilateral meetings with his United Kingdom, Canadian and New Zealand counterparts.