National Security

Transcript | Doorstop Australian Parliament House | 16 May 2024

May 16, 2024

Thursday 16 May 2024
Doorstop at Australian Parliament House
Subjects: Reported data breach impacting health provider, government’s missing migration bill

JOURNALIST: What can you tell us about this latest cyber breach?

JAMES PATERSON: The personal and private information of Australians has again been breached online and it appears a significant breach has occurred affecting the personal medical information of Australians. I haven't had a full briefing on this yet, so I'm waiting for more details on this, but it is very concerning. It's a reminder of how serious this threat is and a demonstration why now is not the time to cut cyber funding, as the government appears to have done in Home Affairs portfolio in this budget.

JOURNALIST: What Can you tell us about who might be behind such an attack, and do you have any idea on numbers, however broad it might be, how many people are affected?

PATERSON: The health sector is a top target for both criminal and also nation state backed actors. They often seek this information because they can use it for ransomware to make money, but also because it gives intelligence and insight into Australians, and can be used, to potentially sabotage a very important provider of services to our country in future. I don't know the exact numbers involved. I am told it's not quite on the scale of Medibank and other attacks like that, but still a very significant attack.

JOURNALIST: Can you tell us what company it is?


JOURNALIST: With the deportation bill is that the government has very quietly removed this out from the agenda. And, what does that tell you about the merits of this bill?

PATERSON: Well, Clare O'Neil and Andrew Giles told us this bill was urgent. It was so urgent, it had to be rushed through the parliament in just 36 hours. And we couldn't even have a Senate inquiry to it. That was several months ago. And yet the government hasn't even listed it for debate, let alone sought to bring it to a vote this week in the Senate or today in the Senate. We'd be happy to work constructively with the government on this. We have some constructive suggestions about how it could be improved from our dissenting report in the inquiry, 17 recommendations. But if the government is not willing to suggest or come forward and talk to us about these amendments, it's going to be very hard to pass the bill.

JOURNALIST: So have you had any conversations with them about those proposals?

PATERSON: I personally have not had any conversations with them. They know what our dissenting report comments and recommendations are. We're open to talking and negotiating to get this through, but they're not even going to list the bill, well then nothing is going to happen.

Thank you.


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