Dutton is Morrison’s cyber man

Ministerial reshuffle appears to deprioritise cyber security, digital transformation

The government no long has a dedicated cyber security minister, with responsibility for information security policy being the domain of the minister of home affairs.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday unveiled his ministry, revealing that Peter Dutton had been restored to the position of minister for home affairs. David Coleman has been appointed minister for immigration, citizenship and multicultural affairs.

Angus Taylor, previously minister for law enforcement and cyber security, has been appointed energy minister.

The government in mid-2016 introduced Australia’s first ‘cyber’ minister, appointing Victorian Liberal MP to Dan Tehan to the role. Following a December 2017 ministerial reshuffle, Taylor took on responsibility for cyber security.

The changes mean that Dutton will have oversight of the government’s proposed regime to strengthen police access to online communications services.

Taylor earlier this month launched a consultation on a draft of the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018, which will strengthen police and intelligence organisations’ ability to request cooperation from tech companies during investigations.

The legislation will also in some circumstances allow the government to order companies to build new features for their services to allow communications to be accessed.

Earlier in August Taylor also revealed that he planned to push a “forward defence” strategy against cyber security threats.

The then-cyber minister said he would work towards the creation of a “threat picture”, based on data from Defence, law enforcement, government agencies and the private sector, that would allow domains linked to malicious activity to be blocked.

There have also been changes on the digital transformation front: Michael Keenan has moved from human services minister as well as minister assisting the prime minister for digital transformation, to minister for human services and digital transformation.

Senator Mitch Fifield has returned to the role of communications minister after briefly quitting ahead of Dutton’s second attempt to dethrone Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister.

Greg Hunt returns as health minister, with responsibility for the ongoing rollout of the national eHealth record system. Christian Porter remains attorney-general. Karen Andrews has been appointed minister for industry, science and technology;  no longer is there a minister with ‘innovation’ in their title.

There is also no longer a regional communications minister.

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Tags Peter DuttonScott MorrisonDepartment of Home Affairs

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