Dutton confirms cybersecurity responsibility

Peter Dutton has confirmed that the Department of Home Affairs superministry has absorbed all cybersecurity functions for the Australian government.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Peter Dutton has confirmed that he will be responsible for cybersecurity as part of the new Department of Home Affairs (DHA) portfolio following last week's leadership spill in the Australian government.

"I will assume the responsibilities previously handled by Angus Taylor including cybersecurity and critical infrastructure," Dutton said in a statement on Monday morning.

"I want to acknowledge the efforts of Angus Taylor, Alan Tudge, and Alex Hawke, who contributed significantly to the success of this portfolio in recent years ... David Coleman and Linda Reynolds will be a great asset to the Home Affairs portfolio."

On Sunday, new Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced his Cabinet, with Dutton retaining the DHA portfolio while Former Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security Angus Taylor was moved to Energy.

Earlier this month, Taylor had praised the role of DHA, after previously saying that he considers the Australian government's approach to cybersecurity to be "world leading".

No cybersecurity portfolio was named by the freshly minted prime minister on Sunday night.

Dutton had originally been given the inaugural role of minister for Home Affairs after former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull last year created the superministry that combined the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), Australian Federal Police (AFP), Border Force, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), Austrac, and the office of transport security.

However, on Tuesday last week, after Dutton was unsuccessful in taking leadership of the Australian Liberal Party from Turnbull when the first of several internal party votes saw the prime minister retain his title as chief, Dutton resigned from Home Affairs and took a seat on the backbench while Morrison took interim responsibility of DHA.

Turnbull then relinquished his prime ministership on Friday after a second leadership spill that saw former Treasurer Morrison defeat Dutton 45-40 in a party vote and be sworn in as Australia's 30th prime minister on Friday night.

Under the new Morrison government, Karen Andrews has been appointed as minister for Industry, Science and Technology; Michael Keenan kept hold of Human Services and Digital Transformation; Greg Hunt has kept Health; Christian Porter remains attorney-general; Marise Payne takes Foreign Affairs; Christopher Pyne gains Defence; Linda Reynolds gains the assistant minister for Home Affairs role; and David Coleman takes on Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs.

Back in April. Dutton's head of department Mike Pezzullo had been sprung proposing that the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) be allowed to spy on Australian citizens, with the government currently also considering anti-encryption legislation.

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