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In other government ICT and digital news, 19 July 2023

by Cameron Sinclair •
Free resource


The senate inquiry into government use of consultants is gathering steam, more Australian governments have confirmed they have been caught up in a Russian hack, while the US government has issued a warning about a Chinese cyber threat and may finally reveal its UFO secrets.


The senate inquiry into consulting services continued hearings in Canberra this week, with representatives from Deloitte, EY, and Accenture called before an openly hostile committee.

The Department of Defence has confirmed it will proceed with the search for a Prime System Integrator for the LAND 200 Phase 3 Battlefield Command Systems project, the army’s top ICT priority, which has been evolving under various descriptions since 2005.

Australians will soon no longer need to visit a JP to witness statutory declarations, with the government currently consulting on the introduction of fully digital document execution. Most people will be familiar with traditional paper-based document execution, requiring wet-ink signatures and in-person witnessing. Temporary “e-execution” measures were introduced during the pandemic, allowing statutory declarations to be executed by applying an electronic signature witnessed through an audio-visual link. The introduction of digital execution will enable an end-to-end online process, with digital identity providers to verify identity and satisfy witnessing requirements.

Minister for the Public Service Katy Gallagher was pressed during her regular radio slot whether the APS needs to pay more for IT experts. She conceded that the government will “need to look at how we are competitive,” but claims that people working for the public service not just in it for the salaries.


The Queensland and Victorian governments have both revealed that sensitive departmental documents have been released onto the dark web after Russian hackers conducted a ransom attack on law firm HWL Ebsworth earlier in the year.

NSW has created a digital ‘legislation twin’ to provide a visual representation of the state’s complex network of various Acts, Statutory Instruments, and Gazettes; and the allocation of Acts to NSW Ministers. While primarily a tool targeted at public servants and lawyers, it will also assist legal drafters to improve the language of bills – which should result in less courtroom pedantry over the long term.

The WA government is funding a digital literacy program targeting older Aboriginal Australians with an emphasis on scams and digital crime.

The FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off on Thursday, but things got off to shaky start during a drone performance in Melbourne, when around 350 of the 500 aerial acrobats inexplicably fell out of the sky and into the Yarra River. The malfunction and recovery operation resulted in the company cancelling a similar performance scheduled in Brisbane.


A reminder that the New Zealand election is less than three months away, on Saturday 14 October. In the latest polls, Labor has edged out a narrow lead over National, which is losing support to ACT.

In the US, the FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) have issued an alert urging critical infrastructure organisations to ensure audit logging is enabled after suspicious activity by “a China-based actor” was identified in the Microsoft 365 cloud environment last month.

The US Senate is expected to compel the government to publicly release records relating to possible UFO sightings. The proposed amendment would require the US National Archives to collect records on “unidentified anomalous phenomena,” or UAPs from all relevant government offices under a “presumption of immediate disclosure,” with a review board tasked with evaluating any claims that documents should remain classified.

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