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Research Guides

Commonwealth Government Records about South Australia

17. Security and intelligence

Before World War I, no single Commonwealth Government agency was dedicated to security, intelligence or law enforcement. When the Commonwealth assumed responsibility for national security and intelligence in 1901, it was not clear which agencies performed these functions and there was considerable overlap between civil and military authorities. Similarly, there was no Commonwealth agency responsible for enforcing federal laws.

The outbreak of World War I hastened the establishment of agencies with special responsibilities in these areas, and throughout the 20th century their number, role and specialisation continued to change and grow.


Chapter 17
Security and intelligence