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Home Affairs cyber secretary reportedly owns over 100k CyberCX shares

A key Department of Home Affairs cyber security secretary and former government cyber adviser is currently under investigation by the department after it was discovered that he had over 100,000 shares in major Australian cyber security firm and government contractor CyberCX.

user icon Daniel Croft
Thu, 22 Feb 2024
Home Affairs cyber secretary reportedly owns over 100k CyberCX shares
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As originally reported by The Sydney Morning Herald, the government’s former lead adviser on cyber security and the first assistant secretary of Home Affairs cyber security policy, Peter Anstee, owned 100,395 CyberCX shares when he joined the department in 2021 and kept them despite them being a potential conflict of interest.

Prior to his time with Home Affairs, Anstee was an executive director for CyberCX from June 2019 to August 2021, at which time he acquired the shares.

Home Affairs is reportedly aware of the issue, having responded to questioning by The Sydney Morning Herald, saying it is looking into the matter and that it “takes conflict of interest, procurement and probity issues seriously”.


The department added that it has strict “policies and procedures in place to manage probity throughout the procurement process”.

“Officials are required to routinely update their conflict-of-interest declarations throughout the procurement process, and specifically once tenders are received,” it said.

Additionally, the Australian Public Service (APS) code of conduct states that employees are required to avoid conflicts of interest, which it defines as conflicts between personal interest and the interest of public duty.

According to an anonymous source from Home Affairs, who was unauthorised to speak publicly, via The Sydney Morning Herald, Anstee did reveal his share ownership as was required, and his superiors were responsible for dealing with the conflict.

Additionally, CyberCX said that as far as it was aware, Anstee disclosed his shares to Home Affairs when he was appointed to the department.

“It is our understanding that Mr Anstee fully disclosed his shareholding to the Department of Home Affairs upon commencing employment … and has not had any involvement in any tendering or contracts awarded to CyberCX by the department,” CyberCX said.

Government agencies have signed contracts with CyberCX on a number of occasions, 163 according to AusTender.

For example, CyberCX signed a $5.5 million contract with Home Affairs for “management advisory services” in early 2022, at which time Anstee was the department’s assistant secretary of technology policy.

While this is not to suggest that Anstee influenced Home Affairs, intentionally or otherwise, to make decisions that would benefit shareholders of CyberCX, parallels can be drawn.

It is also worth noting that CyberCX may be up for sale sometime this year, according to The Australian Financial Review.

According to company sources, the company could be worth $1.5 billion, exactly five times more than its formal valuation of $300 million. This price jump has been in part influenced by CyberCX’s chief strategy officer being the nation’s first eSafety commissioner and former Australian Cyber Security Centre chief, Alastair MacGibbon.

If the company did sell for this value, Anstee’s $100,000 worth of shares would jump up to a value of $500,000 in total.

Daniel Croft

Daniel Croft

Born in the heart of Western Sydney, Daniel Croft is a passionate journalist with an understanding for and experience writing in the technology space. Having studied at Macquarie University, he joined Momentum Media in 2022, writing across a number of publications including Australian Aviation, Cyber Security Connect and Defence Connect. Outside of writing, Daniel has a keen interest in music, and spends his time playing in bands around Sydney.

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