Standing up for Canberra

Time for the Turnbull Government to take real action


Today the Turnbull Government passed the buck when it came to the responsibility of our national security.

Christopher Pyne’s own comments that this breach was not the Turnbull Government’s responsibility only proves the Turnbull Government is willing to shirk responsibility when it comes to national security.

Reports of ‘sensitive data’ being stolen on multi-billion dollar defence contracts including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, C130 Hercules aircraft and the P-8 Poseidon surveillance aircraft should be taken more seriously.

This is a serious breach with the potential for serious consequences.

The Minister for Defence Industry, Christopher Pyne insists this information is only commercially sensitive and not "classified" military information.

This isn’t the reassurance Australians expect when it comes to the security of multi-billion dollar projects.  

It is incredibly concerning the Minister for Defence Industry is being so flippant on an issue of national security, instead happy to shift the blame. 

This isn’t about blame – this is about responsibility. And national security is the Turnbull Government’s chief responsibility.

The Turnbull Government is responsible for the cyber resilience of government agencies and this responsibility extends to the contractors the government agencies employ.

Worryingly, the Australian Signals Directorate has confirmed it is under resourced. This is amidst reports the data breach wasn’t determined by the government agency, instead – it was tipped off about the breach by a partner organisation in November last year, four months after the network was compromised.   

The Turnbull Government claims it is protecting all Australians, but will not take responsibility for this breach. 

The Turnbull Government needs to clarify what it is doing to ensure those handling sensitive information have the proper security protections in place, including what they are doing to improve the cyber resilience, compliance and governance of its own government agencies.

This mess shows we still have a long way to go to ensuring Australia’s cyber security – perhaps further than we thought. 

You cannot outsource responsibility for national security. It should be the only thing that Christopher Pyne is focussed on.

The time for talk is over. We need to see some real action.