The ANU has appointed former Attorney-General and UK High Commissioner George Brandis as a professor within the National Security College. Brandis will take up the role on July 1, where he will continue the University’s work on national security policy and law.

In light of his newly assigned position, the ANU stated that “the position of Professor in the practice of National Security brings to the ANU the opportunity for students to engage directly with former senior officials who have practical experience at the highest levels of national security policymaking and law reform.”

The role comes after Brandis finished his four-year position as the High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. Brandis was a key player in the AUKUS pact, a trilateral agreement between the UK, US and Australia to share their nuclear submarine technology with Australia.

Before his diplomatic work, Brandis was a minister in three Liberal-National governments between 2000 and 2018. From 2013 to 2017 he was the Attorney-General under then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. During his tenure, he supervised the formation of Australia’s foreign interference laws, primarily directed at thwarting China’s interference in Australia’s political system. He had ministerial oversight and responsibility for the Australian Security Intelligence Organization and domestic national security law.

However, throughout his time in the Liberal Government, Brandis faced some controversial moments. Notably, in 2016, during his role as Federal Art Minister, Brandis slashed the Australia Council’s $105 million four-year funding program. Instead, he diverted most of the funds to the National Program for Excellence in the Arts (NPEA), a source he could have direct control over. The scandal worsened when documents proved that no independent government body was consulted about the program or the scale of the funding cut. In response to the backlash, the Turnbull government stripped Brandis of his responsibilities as Minister for the Arts, handing the role to Communications Minister Mitch Fifield.

Brandis will join former ASIO Director-General Duncan Lewis as a Professor in the Practice of National Security at the ANU. Following Chancellor Julie Bishop, he is the second high-profile former Liberal Minister to join the ANU.

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