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In other government ICT and digital news, 26 October 2022

by Cameron Sinclair •
Free resource

Welcome to intermedium’s weekly sweep of public sector news, pushed back a day due to the 2022-23 federal Budget update delivered on Tuesday night.

You can find our Budget analysis here.


As we observed in our last edition, Australian ministers were continuing to travel in the Asia-Pacific region ahead of the Budget. 

Assistant Foreign Affairs Minister Tim Watts was in Papua New Guinea to discuss how Australia can assist with their digital and cyber security priorities. 

Watts was also representing Australia at Singapore International Cyber Week (SICW), addressing the forum of global cyber-ministers and cyber-diplomats on what Australia is doing to support other countries in the region.  

We note that our Ambassador for cyber affairs and critical technology, Tobias Feakin, appeared on a panel alongside China's coordinator for cyber affairs, Wang Lei. 

Back in Canberra, after what feels like several weeks of rolling data breaches, the day after topping up the Information Commissioner’s funding, Attorney General Mark Dreyfuss has introduced draft legislation that will strengthen the regulator’s powers, increase penalties for serious and repeated breaches, and require affected companies to promptly communicate with their customers. 


Queensland: police to get new powers to search devices Queensland police are set to be given new powers to search the digital devices of known child sex offenders without needing a warrant. New laws will require "reportable offenders” to disclose their media access control (MAC) address, and any anonymising software, virtual private networks, and black hole applications. Police are currently required to ask for their consent to inspect devices. 

WA: TechWest festival Minister Stephen Dawson has announced that registrations have opened for the TechWest trade festival, which will be held in early December at various locations across Perth, Joondalup, Fremantle and among the Quokka’s on Rottnest Island. 

Tasmania: undersea cable underway  In an announcement made ahead of the federal budget, the Commonwealth and Tasmanian governments are cooperating to bring forward work to build the Marinus Link, two under-sea transmission cables connecting Tasmania and Victoria. Hopefully, the project will reduce the frequent power (and related internet service) cuts that plague the island. 


UK: New PM son-in-law of Infosys founder  In a cabinet reshuffle overnight, Rishi Sunak has retained Jeremy Hunt as Chancellor, and he remains scheduled to deliver his own mini-Budget, the ‘medium-term fiscal plan,’ on October 31, around the time we are putting together next week’s newsletter. The pair have massive ‘tax and spend’ decisions to make, and secretaries have been asked to find savings. The big question for many of your UK based colleagues will be: which ICT and digital projects will end up on the chopping block? 

UK: Royal Mail stamps goes digital Also in the UK, the Royal Mail service are introducing barcoded stamps, allowing them to be digitally tracked (a matter that was allegedly of concern to VC holder Ben Roberts-Smith). 

Slovenian Presidential Elections  In Slovenia, Nataša Pirc Musar, a lawyer and former Information Commissioner, journalist, and author of several books on privacy and Freedom of Information, will contest a presidential run-off election in mid November, after the first round was held last week. For readers who confuse Slovenia with Slovakia, we are talking about the former, tucked against Italy on the Adriatic coast, famous for Tour de France champion Tadej Pogačar and architecture school drop-out Melanija Knavs, now better known by her married name, Melania Trump. 

German cyber chief sacked for Russian ties  Across the Alps in Germany, the president of the German Federal Office for Information Security, Arne Schönbohm, has been sacked after a local television comedian noted his connections to a cyber security firm with links to former KGB officials. Before taking on the government role in 2016, Schönbohm had established a cyber industry trade group that included a firm with links to the Russian government: Infotecs was a subsidiary of a Russian company founded by an ex-KGB employee. Satirist Jan Böhmermann joked that “the Russian company Infotecs that wants to protect our critical infrastructure from Russian cyber-attacks works with Russian intelligence services”. Germany's interior minister Nancy Faeser didn’t find the circumstances particularly amusing, and Schönbohm has been shown the door.

FINALLY  We hope you enjoy our Budget analysis, but for a rather whimsical take on how this one stacks up against its predecessors, we conducted a crude search of the number of times that certain words appeared in successive ‘Budget Measures’ documents, to see if we could spot any trends or patterns… 






2022-23 (March) 

2022-23 (October) 




























… and we appear to be back at pre-pandemic levels, before a series of cyber security incidents and a renewed focus on digital transformation under Minister Stuart Robert brought ICT to the forefront in the 2020-21 and 2021-22. 

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