Standing up for Canberra

Labor concerned about serious cyber security breaches

The revelations on last night’s 4 Corners program of serious and repeated cyber security breaches of Australian government agencies and contractors are of deep concern to Labor.

Breaches in cyber security are becoming more common in both the private and public sector. Many of these attacks are state-sponsored.

It is vitally important that our defences are capable of meeting this evolving threat, including to networks which contain sensitive national security information.

Labor has long recognised the importance of network defence and cyber security. The former Labor Government opened the Cyber Security Operations Centre in 2010 and released Australia’s first comprehensive cyber strategy.

After delay, the Turnbull Government released its own Cyber Security Strategy in April with $230 million worth of new measures, claiming it had "a duty to protect our nation from cyber attack and to ensure that we can defend our interests in cyberspace".

The Turnbull Government has serious questions to answer to assure the public this duty is being met.

It is not clear what the Strategy has achieved so far beyond the renaming of the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC). It has already had one very public failure in protecting the Census website from cyber attack.

When will the Turnbull Government develop its international cyber engagement strategy?

When will the Turnbull Government appoint a Cyber Ambassador to lead Australia’s efforts in advocating “for an open, free and secure Internet based on our values of free speech, privacy and the rule of law"?

How is the streamlining of cyber security governance and structures and the coordination of cyber security capabilities in the Turnbull Government’s ACSC progressing?

Has the Turnbull Government developed a communication strategy for cyber-attacks on government agencies?

Labor will seek assurances that any weaknesses in the infrastructure of Austrade and the Defence Science Technology Group have been addressed.