Spies, more spies, cybering, and more cybering! We also have proposed new ID and drug laws, a report on sexual consent laws, and an apology for robodebt — to Services Australia staff.
Here’s what I’ve noticed since the previous edition on 8 September.
- “Home Affairs minister Clare O’Neil has nearly doubled the number of businesses roped-into the ‘Systems of National Significance’ schedule, lifting the number of organisations from 87 to 168 that are now subject to powerful cyber security regulations,” reports The Mandarin. “The fresh round of designations follows the expiry of a six-month grace period in mid-August that was given to critical infrastructure owners to allow them to get their act together.”
- Chinese academic raided by Australian police and offered $2,000 for information during trip. And, as this Guardian exclusive adds, “Sino-Australian relations expert had phone confiscated and was asked to provide information during ‘heavy-handed’ and ‘counterproductive’ episode”.
- Labor gives parliament only limited powers to examine unlawful spying after Timor-Leste scandal.
- ‘Hi it’s Jacinta Price’: Liberal anti-voice mass text campaign branded ‘deceptive’ by teals, although they are lawful under the current laws.
- We have a new Identity Verification Services Bill 2023. This is basically another go at sorting out the national biometrics database and the like, a plan which ran onto the rocks of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) which said, basically, this is a horrible privacy violation and please start again.
- In response to the ACT’s decriminalisation of certain drug offences, the federal opposition introduced the Australian Capital Territory Dangerous Drugs Bill 2023 in an attempt to cancel it out. Or put another way, Coalition accused of trying to send ACT back to 1950s after attempt to block drug decriminalisation.
- Senior politician warns of ‘very high’ risk of Chinese spies in parliament, that politician being Senator James Paterson.
- You don’t want to rush things. This week we saw the government response (PDF) to the PJCIS report: Review of police powers in relation to terrorism, the control order regime, the preventative detention order regime and the continuing detention order regime. Yes, the response came this week — but the committee report itself was published nearly two years ago, in October 2021. The machinery of government is full of mice.
- We also have a report from the inquiry into current and proposed sexual consent laws in Australia.
- The Defence Amendment (Safeguarding Australia’s Military Secrets) Bill 2023 proposes to “regulates the work that certain former defence staff members — called foreign work restricted individuals — can perform without a foreign work authorisation”. This is meant stop, to give a completely hypothetical example, former RAAF members training pilots in China.
- Defence disaster relief ‘shadow workforce’ role puts national security at risk.
- Services Australia chief Rebecca Skinner apologises to staff for robodebt, although I just say I don’t think it was the staff who need the biggest apology..
- From the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, we have Australia’s welfare 2023: data insights.
- Home affairs minister’s chief of staff takes job with arms manufacturer Thales, Senate told, so I assume he had the usual brain wipe to prevent him taking SEKRIT information with him. Those brain wipes are a thing, right?
- The Interactive Gambling Amendment (Credit and Other Measures) Bill 2023 intends to stop people using their credit card to gamble.
- Update 17 September 2023: The Environment and Communications Legislation Committee is taking a look at the provisions of the Interactive Gambling Amendment (Credit and Other Measures) Bill 2023. You’ll have to be quick, though. For some reason the submissions close on 22 September, which is this coming Friday.
Please let me know if I’ve missed anything, or if there’s any specific items you’d like me to follow. Parliament is now on break until 16 October, but as usual there’ll be plenty of other news from Canberra,
[Photo: Home affairs and cyber security [sic] minister Clare O’Neil (centre) alongside Australia’s national cyber security coordinator, Air Marshal Darren Goldie (left), and someone else.]