The executive government consists of ministers and assistant ministers elected to the parliament who are members of the political party, or coalition of parties having a majority in the House of Representatives.
The ministers responsible for the intelligence and security agencies are:
- Prime Minister (ONI)
- Minister for Foreign Affairs (ASIS)
- Attorney-General (ASIO)
- Minister for Defence (ASD, DIO & AGO)
The heads of the intelligence and security agencies answer to their ministers in accordance with normal governmental arrangements, subject in the case of ASIO, ASIS, AGO, ASD and ONI, to specific provisions in legislation.
In addition to oversight by individual ministers, the work of the agencies is guided by the National Security Committee of Cabinet (NSC), which includes the Deputy Prime Minister and the Treasurer in addition to the ministers listed above. The NSC, which the Prime Minister chairs, sets broad policy, priorities and budgets for the agencies.
The NSC is supported by the Secretaries Committee on National Security (SCNS), a committee of senior officials chaired by the Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
SCNS advises the NSC on national security policy, coordinates implementation of policies and programs relevant to national security and gives guidance to departments and agencies involved in intelligence and security.