Sat. May 21st, 2022

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Australia’s security system needs an urgent upgrade to combat morphing cyber threats and an increasingly assertive China, a new report says. The country’s intelligence chiefs have warned that cyber warfare and foreign interference are on the rise, exacerbating a geopolitical challenge posed by Beijing. A political document released by the Australian National University has called for a new intelligence minister to coordinate efforts, which now required input from at least 16 agencies and departments. Security cleared advisers should also be assigned to key MPs to ensure they can discuss classified material in depth, it said. READ MORE NEWS: A legal background for MPs was common, which report writer William Stoltz, political adviser at ANU’s National Security College, said would be valuable to an intelligence minister. But he argued that a Member of Parliament with operational experience in the Defense Forces or intelligence agencies would be particularly beneficial. “They would be able to get a sense of the real consequences of these decisions. Many parliamentarians often struggle to get their heads around the actual operational effects of these laws,” he said. The new minister – a junior or assistant minister – would sit on the national security committee under the ministry of prime minister and cabinet. The current system included the Director General National Intelligence and the National Security Advisor, both public employees, but Dr. Stoltz claimed that national security policy was an “inherent political thing”. He said having a minister tasked with lobbying the bench would reduce the chance of independent bureaucrats being drawn into political stupor. And when the prospect of minority government threatened, he warned that protracted bipartisanship on national security was not guaranteed. “We are heading into a rather uncertain, uncertain security environment in the coming years,” he said. “It is becoming even more important that parliamentarians understand and feel that they have an influence on these major national security decisions, because there is always the possibility that someone will decide to make political capital out of it.” COVID-19 NEWS: Communication with MPs on national security has proved controversial, with cross-banks in August accusing the major parties of hitting new spy powers without adequate consultation. The Joint Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee approved the laws, giving the Australian Security Intelligence Agency the power to collect data on Australians on land, despite having less than a week to consider them. To help PJCIS members make decisions in high-speed environments, the report also called on National Intelligence Committee agencies to provide high-level staff approval when posting to the Committee’s Secretariat. At least one security-approved adviser should also be assigned to each PJCIS member’s office, it recommended. Dr. Stoltz claimed that PJCIS members were hampered by an inability to discuss briefings with staff, who often lacked adequate approval, and the prospect of passing information to them was a concern. “The wide range and complexity of issues that the committee now has to consider is really ridiculous,” he said. “It is the full range of technological issues that cross national security, as well as the geopolitical complexities.” Unless they come to these issues from some sort of previous professional experience in the national security community, they face a really upward struggle to be able to get their head around the subject and then actually apply proper control. The report also suggested that the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor become a full-time role and have sufficient funding to support and advise the PJCIS. However, we rely on subscription revenue to support our journalism.If you can, you can subscribe here.If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.You can also sign up for our newsletters for regular updates.Our journalists work hard to deliver local, up-to-date news to the community, this is how you can continue to access our trusted content:



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