House debates

Thursday, 25 March 2021

Statements by Members

National Security

1:53 pm

Photo of Tim WattsTim Watts (Gellibrand, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Communications and Cyber Security) Share this | | Hansard source

In the last month the world has seen one of the most significant cybersecurity incidents in history. But, engulfed in scandal, the Morrison government has been paralysed in the face of this very serious national security risk. We have seen no press conference from the Prime Minister and the defence minister, as we saw in June last year in the face of an analogous cybersecurity risk. The defence minister has been on leave while this cybersecurity incident hit and the acting defence minister, also the Minister for Women, was in hiding when this cybersecurity incident hit. And three months after he was appointed the new assistant minister for defence who, theoretically, is supposed to have responsibility for cybersecurity in the Morrison government, hadn't received the charter letter formally giving him these responsibilities.

Australian cybersecurity has been left politically leaderless under the Morrison government, because of the scandal and incompetence of this government. And to add insult to injury, today we learned that the Minister for Government Services is now in line to become the new home affairs minister in the scandal-enforced reshuffle and that he will have responsibility for cybersecurity policy. After eight long years of scandal and sleaze have decimated the coalition frontbench, this is what we're left with: 'the Minister for My Bad and a Fictitious DDoS Account', 'the member for $40,000 Home Internet Bills' and the master of disaster will now be leading Australian cybersecurity policy. Is this seriously the best that the Morrison government can offer the Australian public? The Australian people deserve better on this issue of serious national importance, and Albanese Labor is ready to provide it.