Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus (Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

The Home Affairs Department has been caught out repeatedly suggesting that it speaks on behalf of supposedly independent law enforcement agencies such as the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.

At a hearing for the parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security's review of the telecommunication sector security reforms on Thursday afternoon, Labor’s shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus took the opportunity to castigate representatives from the powerful mega-department about their submission.

He took issue with the start of its submission which refers to itself as the “Home Affairs portfolio”, a term that includes agencies that come under the department, rather than the “Department of Home Affairs”.