Melbourne press conference

SUBJECT/S: Cybersecurity breach; Craig Kelly; Carbon emissions

THE HON. MARK DREYFUS QC MP
SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL
SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY

MEMBER FOR ISAACS

 

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
PRESS CONFERENCE
MELBOURNE
FRIDAY, 21 DECEMBER 2018
 
SUBJECT/S: Cybersecurity breach; Craig Kelly; Carbon emissions
 
DREYFUS: Labor is deeply concerned about reports that Australia has been the target of commercial intellectual property theft by China. Labor supports the government making clear to any nation engaging in such behaviour that such actions are unacceptable and also makes clear that Australia expects that all countries should act in accordance with international law and norms.

This is equally applicable in the cyber environment as anywhere else. The coordinated global response to this attack in unprecedented and it is a mark of its seriousness.  It’s welcome that we are beginning to see such coordination between countries in the face of the threat that has been presented.

Of course it’s important to note that although this threat has been attributed to China there are many other actors. This is something that has been made by clear by Australian security agencies now for some time. We have to be ever vigilant against the cyber threat of which the report today found.
I would also like to say a few words about concerning reports dealing with coalition behaviour in relation to a New South Wales federal seat. There are reports in the Fairfax press that a key confidant of Mr Morrison has been involved in attempts to nobble Craig Kelly’s challenger in his preselection contest for the seat of Hughes with the offer of a $350,000 party job. If these reports are true then this is truly extraordinary conduct. Mr Morrison must immediately explain what he knew about this offer. Mr Scott Briggs who reportedly made the offer is well known as a mate of Mr Morrison. Given the importance of the preselection battle for Hughes to the fate of this government it is beyond belief that Mr Morrison did not know something of these activities. Are there any questions?

REPORTER: Will Labor be pursuing this - making a referral to the AEC?

DREYFUS: Like so much else of the reports that are now seemingly cascading out on a daily basis about this morally bankrupt government, this is a matter for the government. It’s the government’s conduct, the conduct of government members, government party members which is bringing discredit to our country. It’s a matter for the government to explain, it’s a matter for Mr Morrison to explain.

REPORTER: Will you be referring it to the AEC?

DREYFUS: I think that, if there has been, if the reports are true about the offer of a $350,000 dollar party job in relation to a potential candidature for the Australian Federal Parliament – if those reports are true then potentially there may have been offences committed under the Australian Electorate Act. Certainly it’s a matter Mr Morrison must immediately state all that he knew of this matter and everything that’s known should be disclosed to the public.

REPORTER: Can I clarify as a lawyer do you think that there has been a breach of Section 326?   

DREYFUS: It’s not possible to say from the reports today exactly what has occurred that’s why it’s essential that Mr Morrison make clear what he knew, and Mr Briggs make clear what it was that he did in relation to nobbling the challenger for Mr Kelly’s seat of Hughes.

REPORTER: Just in relation to the Herald Sun report this morning on the front page, do you think the government should release any letters that changed hands between the departments in relation to the [inaudible]

DREYFUS: Well again these are extremely concerning reports about a different matter concerning a government member of Parliament and those concerning reports show again, if they are true, that the matter was drawn to the attention directly of Mr Dutton. Given the precarious nature of this government, it’s also beyond belief that Mr Morrison hasn’t been briefed on this matter. They are extremely concerning reports because they show that the Australian Federal Police was concerned about the possibility that a government MP might be exposed to an extortion attempt or blackmail attempt. It was drawn to the attention of Mr Dutton, we call on Mr Dutton and Mr Morrison to make clear what they knew and what the concerns raised by the AFP were.
 
REPORTER: Will you be putting pressure on Mr Dutton and Mr Morrison to release the letters?

DREYFUS: It is something that they should do because all Australians have a right to know that, if a government MP has put himself or herself in the position of being exposed to a threat of extortion or a threat of blackmail because of their own personal conduct. If it has been raised with a senior minister in the government or as I would suggest the Prime Minister, they need to make clear what exactly has occurred here.

REPORTER: Just on the issue of the cyber [inaudible]

DREYFUS: I think we can be clear about this. China is our neighbour, China is Australia’s biggest trading partner but if Chinese state agencies have engaged in this kind of conduct, then I think it is important that we say so. It is important to name the source of threats and that’s what’s occurred here, that’s what United States officials have done today and that’s what the Australian Foreign Minister has done today. We think that this is an appropriate way in which to attempt to deal with this threat. As I said in my opening remarks, there are other actors as well and I do think it is appropriate, when possible, to name the source of the attacks because I think it helps us deal with those attacks.

REPORTER: [inaudible]

DREYFUS: What we need is a government other than this dysfunctional chaotic government that is prepared to put in place a climate policy. What an extraordinary spectacle we have had this week of the COAG energy minister’s conference, where not merely Labor energy ministers from the states, but Liberal state energy ministers unanimously, in unison, raised with Mr Taylor, the energy minister, the absence of a climate policy from this government. The government’s own figures show that emissions are rising. What Australia needs is a government that is prepared to put in place actual action on climate change instead of the complete absence of policy that we now see is all we are going to get from this dysfunctional and chaotic government. An appalling spectacle yesterday to listen to Mr Taylor evading questions, not giving any proper response and in particular evading questions put to him about the facts disclosed by government reports that the omissions are rising.

Thank you.