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Shadow cyber security minister James Paterson responds to cyber security coordinator appointment

Shadow cyber security minister James Paterson has responded to the government’s appointment of the nation’s first cyber security coordinator, saying that it comes too little too late.

user icon Daniel Croft
Fri, 23 Jun 2023
Shadow cyber security minister James Paterson responds to cyber security coordinator appointment
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While the shadow minister applauded the appointment of Air Marshal Darren Goldie AM CSC, Paterson referred to earlier questioning as to why the government had not appointed a coordinator back in March, which was when Cyber Security Minister Clare O’Neil said one would be put in place.

“Today’s announcement follows questions from the Opposition in the Senate this week to explain the delay when Cyber Security Minister Clare O’Neil promised to have a cyber security coordinator in action in March this year,” Paterson said.

“The delay means the coordinator commences duties in the height of a cyber crisis.”

Paterson referred to the HWL Ebsworth hack, which has reportedly compromised a number of government departments and authorities, including the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

“If the minister had acted sooner, the coordinator would have been in place before the HWL Ebsworth cyber attack, which appears to be one of the most serious data breaches affecting sensitive, and potentially classified, government information,” he said.

Paterson said that as a result, Goldie’s first role as coordinator would need to be cleaning up.

“The first task of the coordinator must be to get to the bottom of what government data has been lost in the HWL Ebsworth attack, the implications of the breach and how to mitigate them, and steps being taken to inform and support affected parties,” he said.

“Given the Albanese government’s failure to be transparent about the nature, extent and impact of the attack, it falls to the new coordinator to conduct Australia’s cyber response in an open and transparent manner.”

Minister O’Neil described the state of cyber security left by the former Liberal government as an “absolute mess”.

“We had voluntary cyber obligations which barely anyone was meeting, we had a response across government which was completely uncoordinated, we had no meaningful cyber security response function within the Australian government, absolutely unbelievable,” she said previously in the House of Representatives.

“Surprisingly … because under the former government we didn’t even have a minister for cyber security; it’s surprising we ended up where we are.”

As part of today’s (23 June) announcement, O’Neil said that the appointment of a cyber security coordinator is a crucial part of the “jigsaw puzzle” that is taking control of the current cyber climate.

“[Goldie] will drive the work across government in cyber security with force and velocity that is needed to meet what is a very substantial and seriously growing challenge for our nation,” Minister O’Neil said.

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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