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New Turnbull appointment strengthens cybersecurity leadership

by Justin Hendry •
Free resource

Topics: IT Services; Cybersecurity; Digital Transformation; Fed.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s latest cabinet reshuffle has cemented the government’s cybersecurity governance arrangements in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, in line with the 2016 Cyber Security Strategy.

The appointment of Dan Tehan as the government’s inaugural Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security is the second major governance change since the strategy called for improved cybersecurity leadership in April.

“Cyber security needs to be driven from the top. Economic and national security imperatives mean that cyber security is a strategic issue for leaders – Minister, senior executives and boards – not just for ICT and security staff”, the strategy states.

Tehan will work with business leaders to co-design national initiatives that are deemed crucial to elevate cybersecurity and drive innovation. He will also co-host with the Prime Minister an annual cybersecurity leaders’ meeting between the federal government, businesses and research institutions.

At the time of the strategy’s release, Tehan said the “internet should be dominated by those who use it, not governments, however, we cannot allow cyberspace to become a lawless domain. The private sector and government sector both have vital roles to play.”

Tehan’s experience of the field is more comprehensive than most. Between December and February 2016 he was Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, during which time the committee controversially recommended adopting mandatory data retention through the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Act 2015.

He has held multiple high level advisory positions in government and the private sector, and holds a Master of Foreign Affairs and Trade from Monash University and a Master of International Relations from the University of Kent.

Tehan joins Alastair Macgibbon, who became the first Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Cyber Security in May 2016, after a stint as Australia’s first Children’s eSafety Commissioner. According to the strategy, Macgibbon is responsible for “the development of cyber security Strategy and policy, [which] provide clear objectives and priorities to operational agencies…” He is also responsible for overseeing agencies’ implementation of those priorities.

Outside of the department, responsibility for cyber security operations lies with the Australian Cyber Security Centre Coordinator Clive Lines, who is also a Deputy Director at the Australian Signals Directorate.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s new Cyber Ambassador, responsible for international engagement, will complete the government’s cyber security quartet, but is yet to be appointed despite the allocation of $2.7 million over four years in the 2016-17 budget.

Tehan will also take on the role of Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister for Defence Personnel, which replaces Tehan’s previous role of Minister for Defence Materiel.

Reshuffle implications for ICT further afield

Perhaps the biggest overhaul of any portfolio will take place in the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, with Former Environment Minister Greg Hunt replacing Christopher Pyne as the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science.

Pyne has moved to the new role of Minister for Defence Industry, which brings the total number of ministers in the Defence portfolio to three.

However, whereas cybersecurity has ascended, the significance of innovation has waned with the loss of a dedicated Assistant Minister for Innovation. Craig Laundy will instead support Hunt drive home the National Innovation and Science Agenda as the Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science.

Angus Taylor will remain as the Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation within DPMC. Taylor was appointed to the role following a cabinet reshuffle in February 2016, and will be busy accelerating the digitisation of government services under the Policy for Better and More Accessible Digital Services.

In the Communications portfolio, which has lost much of its responsibility for ICT since Turnbull moved the Digital Transformation Office to within DPMC in September 2015, Mitch Fifield and Fiona Nash will continue in their respective roles as Minister for Communications and Minister for the Arts, and Minister for Regional Communications.

Full changes to the Turnbull’s ministry can be found in GovFacts.

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