Big week! Fallout from the Optus failure. Response to the robodebt royal commission. The ASD’s cyber threat report. The cyber coordinator gets recalled. A public service integrity action plan. And more.
Here’s what I’ve noticed since the previous edition on 10 November.
- On Monday the government released its response to the Royal Commission into the Robodebt Scheme. “The Government has accepted or accepted in principle all 56 recommendations made by the Royal Commission.”
- This has triggered extra funding for oversight agencies.
- However as the Guardian puts it, “The government did not accept a ‘closing observation’ from [Royal Commissioner Catherine] Holmes to amend the FoI Act so cabinet documents are only exempted from release if there is a clear public interest reason.”
- As The Mandarin reports, “Key public servants embroiled in the robodebt scandal are now almost certain to escape dismissal or disciplinary sanctions while in their jobs.”
- Also from The Mandarin, Robodebt aftermath: Survey of 900 public servants reveals integrity among top pain points.
- And the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet has released an Integrity good practice guide and a document titled Louder than words: An APS integrity action plan.
- On Friday, the Senate Environment and Communications References Committee held a public hearing with witnesses Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin and their head of networks Lambo Kanagaratnam. In due course the Hansard transcript will appear on the relevant page. For now you can read Optus’s written submission (PDF).
- If that’s too much reading for you, iTnews wrote Optus outage blamed on edge router default settings. The Guardian led with More than 200 Optus customers unable to call triple zero during 14-hour outage, Senate inquiry told.
- Australia’s critical infrastructure under regular and rising attack from hackers, ASD warns, so basically it’s a day with a Y in it. Is that too cynical? That was the Guardian. The Mandarin took the angle Crap app-security, mid-sized business the cyber threat biggies ASD reckons.
- Both those stories are from the Australian Signals Directorate’s Cyber Threat Report 2022–2023.
- “Defence minister and deputy prime minister Richard Marles has foreshadowed ‘safe harbour’ legislation to encourage companies to better cooperate with the government’s cyber agencies during security incidents,” reports iTnews.
- Meanwhile, “National Cyber Security Coordinator, Air Marshal Darren Goldie, AM, CSC, has been recalled to Defence to deal with a workplace matter related to his time in Defence”.
- “The Government will conduct a six-month trial of Microsoft 365 Copilot, making it one of the first governments in the world to deploy generative AI service,” says the prime minister.
- The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) released its advisory report in the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Prohibited Hate Symbols and Other Measures) Bill 2023. The committee’s recommendations include removing remove the Islamic State flag from the definition of a prohibited hate symbol; extending the protection for journalists to “editors, producers and others involved in the news and current affairs reporting process”; and giving collectors a 6 to 12-month window in which to dispose of their items.
- The Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Voter Protections in Political Advertising) Bill 2023 aims “to prohibit misleading or deceptive electoral or referendum matter”.
- New from The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI): What do Australia’s parliamentarians think about cybersecurity and critical technology?
Please let me know if I’ve missed anything, or if there’s any specific items you’d like me to follow. Both houses of parliament return on Monday 27 November for what are currently planned to be the final sittings for the year.
[Photo: Australian Signals Directorate director-general Rachel Noble.]