Australia invests heavily throughout the Asia-Pacific region in mechanisms to control irregular people movements. Information has been leaked about conditions in the notorious detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island, and aspects of the Bali Process are well known and publicised, but the nature and extent of much of Australia’s investment have not been widely aired or scrutinised. This article canvasses the range of Australia’s engagement in irregular migration controls and discusses how policies initiated by it have influenced policies developed by other countries. The article considers the implications of Australia’s irregular migration control efforts in the context of other forms of regional engagement. It points to inconsistency between Australia’s irregular migration regime and other law and justice programs. It also considers the impact of the irregular migration regime on regional relationships and stability, and for the rule of law.