Monday, 11 September 2023
Private Members' Business
I think the previous speaker belled the cat when he started laughing right at the end, because the irony of this motion must have suddenly hit him. What we have seen, I think, and what we continue to see is a complete amnesia about the last 10 years and about how, indeed, we could have got ourselves into the situation that we're in. But I'll talk about us.
National security, to our government, is sacrosanct. It underpins every other area of government on which the Australian people rely for essential services, from combating cost-of-living pressures to delivering nation-building reforms to Medicare; to cheaper childcare, cheaper medicines and cheaper bulk billing; to the transition to net zero emissions by 2050. Every one of the government's reforms hinges, in some way, on our ability to keep our country safe from the many threats that would sap the foundation of our democracy, for—and make no mistake—Australia is under daily pressure from a full spectrum of threats, ranging from geopolitical competition through to foreign interference, organised crime and cyberattacks. And energy security is among the urgent priorities of this government's national security agenda. So, to that limited extent, I welcome the motion for making the valid point that energy security is national security.
But, unlike those opposite, all arms of our government are acting on this view. Securing our critical infrastructure—which includes the power plants that are raised in this motion—is one of the priority focal points of our new 2023 to 2030 Australian Cyber Security Strategy, whose development was announced in December. We have appointed an expert advisory board, made up of the brightest minds in business, government and defence, to tackle this complex issue.
Our government has also appointed Air Marshal Darren Goldie, AM, CSC, as the National Cyber Security Coordinator, and I wish him well in his role. He's incredibly capable. His role will focus on making critical infrastructure entities more cyber-resilient to these ongoing attacks on our systems.
In December, the Minister for Climate Change and Energy released version 2 of the Australian Energy Sector Cyber Security Framework. It specifically provides a tool for assessing cybersecurity maturity across Australia's energy sector, addressing the exact set of issues that the motion raises, across gas markets, the electricity sector and liquid fuels.
This motion voices fears that smart solar inverters could turn solar panels into vectors of foreign interference, with hackers shutting them off remotely. While no threat can be dismissed out of hand in our hyperconnected age, with the Internet of Things turning what was once science fiction into our daily reality, I do have serious reservations about the motivations behind this sudden epiphany among those opposite on cybersecurity and energy security after over nine long years of doing—what, exactly? I distinctly remember the coalition's energy security strategy. It was importing 91 per cent of our fuel and holding only 32 days worth, outsourcing our fuel security to the US, with fuel transported on foreign owned ships that take at least three weeks to reach us That's before you get to the coalition's answer to every energy policy question: building nuclear reactors in Australia's suburbs out of ideological hostility to wind turbines and solar panels.