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Wednesday, 28 February 2018
Page: 2252


Dr MIKE KELLY (Eden-Monaro) (13:26): I'm pleased to be able to continue the contributions of my colleagues the shadow defence minister and the member for Canberra, who is obviously passionate about the presence of ASD in Canberra. Labor was proud to have been an active participant in the consideration of this legislation, the Intelligence Services Amendment (Establishment of the Australian Signals Directorate) Bill 2018, through the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security. That committee is a wonderfully bipartisan committee with very fine members of this House participating, as well as members of the Senate. It is guided by our interests in national security and the national interest. Certainly there's no room for politics in our deliberation, and this was a good step forward.

I'm well aware of some of the issues that were occurring at the time—internal issues with ASD and the relationship with some aspects of how that organisation worked within Defence and without. This solution has actually resolved those matters, so I'm very pleased about that. I'm pleased for the personnel within ASD, who are breathing big sighs of relief now that this reform has taken place. It provides some administrative tidying up as well; I won't go into the details of that.

One of the remaining issues, of course, relates to the challenge that's being presented to Australia by the technological threats that we face in general and the breadth of those, including in our domestic counterterrorism spaces, where this overlaps with other areas of criminality. One of the things that struck home to me in getting briefings from the AFP was the correlation of paedophilia and some really horrendous aspects of criminality that conflate with terrorist activity and terrorist targets.

So there is a huge demand for analysing and sifting through vast amounts of data these days, and there is a really big challenge for us to share the skills and talents that are out there—those people who are great at writing algorithms and managing this data—with private industry. That is going to be the challenge for this nation in the future as our security demands increasingly require those skills in the defence workforce: how we share that with private industry. This was brought home to me by the briefing that we received at the ADF facility at Majura, where there was a PhD student from Data61, who was assisting AFP to sift through what they described as petabytes of material in meeting their challenges.

So it's pleasing to see that the ADF are working on their own challenges to create the cyberwarriors, the keyboard warriors of the future, and managing how they support these changes to ASD and the broader changes that they are engaged in, such as the creation of the Information Warfare Division. I'm very pleased to see that division has been placed under Major General Thompson, who has a PhD in cybersecurity and a special forces background himself. That brings together not only information warfare capability and C4 issues—command, control, communications and coordination—but also battle management capability.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Coulton ): Order! The debate is interrupted in accordance with standing order 43. The debate may be resumed at a later hour, and the member for Eden-Monaro will be given an opportunity at that time to conclude his contribution.