Opportunities lost as Turnbull's cyber role goes unfilled

Five months after announcing the creation of the role of Cyber Ambassador, the Turnbull Government has yet to fill it.

Malcolm Turnbull’s indecision means he is discussing cyber security with US President Barack Obama in Washington this week with no Cyber Ambassador to accompany him.

Malcolm Turnbull said the Cyber Ambassador would be “working with our international partners…to champion a secure, open and free internet” at the launch of the Cyber Security Strategy in April.

He suggested the Cyber Ambassador would:

  • “lead our international engagement”;

  • “advocate for an open, free, and secure Internet, based on our values of free speech, privacy and the rule of law”; and

  • “work with regional and global partners to advance internet freedom, combat cybercrime and share threat information.”

But since then, thanks to the Turnbull Government’s failure to make a decision, Australia continues to let slip opportunities to advance our cyber security interests at the international level.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has suggested the $2.7 million allocated to the role in the 2016-17 Budget will allow the Cyber Ambassador to “promote our position on internet governance and cyber security.”

At the 2015 G20 summit in Turkey, Australia lent its support to the communique acknowledging the important role for diplomacy between nation-states in the regulation of cyber activity.

This is what Australia’s Cyber Ambassador should be doing.

Malcolm Turnbull must make a decision and finally announce his pick for Cyber Ambassador.

Australia’s international cyber security interests cannot be furthered by an empty chair.


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