National Security a Major Focus of New Australian Shadow Ministry

Australia’s opposition Liberal-National Coalition will continue its strong focus on defence and national security after the shadow ministry was unveiled on June 5 with the newly created portfolio of Countering Foreign Interference.Shifting into the role of shadow defence minister will be Andrew Hastie, a former soldier and the assistant defence minister, while James Paterson, former head of the Intelligence and Security Committee, will become shadow minister for Cyber Security and Countering Foreign Interference. Both men were barred from entering China in 2019 by the Chinese Communist Party over criticism directed at human rights abuse against Uyghur minorities and foreign interference. “I thank the leader of the opposition, Peter Dutton, for the opportunity to serve in this role,” Hastie said in an emailed statement. “The first duty of the Australian government is to protect our people, values, interests, and sovereignty.” “That is why the Australian Defence Force must be strong, agile, and resilient.” Senator Paterson said cyber attacks and foreign interference were two of the “most serious contemporary threats” to Australian democracy and sovereignty. “In government, the Liberal and National parties led the world in legislating reforms to protect our country from those who sought to use these vectors to undermine our national security,” he said in a statement. “It is critical as a nation we now seize the opportunity presented by AUKUS to further enhance our cyber capabilities.” “I hope the new Labor government maintains and builds upon our reforms to protect critical infrastructure, combat ransomware, tackle the dark web, and criminalise foreign state interference in our democracy.” The Albanese Labor government was the first government in the G20 to install a dedicated minister for cyber security, Clare O’Neil, who will also hold the Home Affairs portfolio. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has also removed the Australian Federal Police (AFP) from the Home Affairs portfolio to back under the attorney general’s office, Mark Dreyfus Q.C. The initial move to consolidate the AFP into Home Affairs occurred under the then-presiding minister, Peter Dutton, who is now the opposition leader. The move attracted criticism from the AFP union, the Australian Federal Police Association, claiming it was “embarrassing” and made it the “least independent police force” in the country. So with the APS reshuffle just announced by @AlboMP leading the @AusFedPolice back to the Attorney-General @markdreyfusQCMP where it belongs. The AFPA welcomes this change as it realigns Commonwealth law enforcement with the portfolio that makes the law. pic.twitter.com/ZukmhZkGMn — Australian Federal Police Association (@AFPAssociation) June 1, 2022 However, proponents of the move argued it streamlined operations—particularly around obtaining legal authority for sensitive operations—given the level of integration between the AFP and intelligence agencies such as the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation. Meanwhile, the shadow ministry will see Karen Andrews return to the Home Affairs portfolio, Barnaby Joyce has been moved to the Veteran Affairs, Luke Howarth to Defence Industry, and Philip Thompson to Assistant Minister for Defence. Follow Daniel Y. Teng is based in Sydney. He focuses on national affairs including federal politics, COVID-19 response, and Australia-China relations. Got a tip? Contact him at daniel.teng@epochtimes.com.au.

National Security a Major Focus of New Australian Shadow Ministry

Australia’s opposition Liberal-National Coalition will continue its strong focus on defence and national security after the shadow ministry was unveiled on June 5 with the newly created portfolio of Countering Foreign Interference.

Shifting into the role of shadow defence minister will be Andrew Hastie, a former soldier and the assistant defence minister, while James Paterson, former head of the Intelligence and Security Committee, will become shadow minister for Cyber Security and Countering Foreign Interference.

Both men were barred from entering China in 2019 by the Chinese Communist Party over criticism directed at human rights abuse against Uyghur minorities and foreign interference.

“I thank the leader of the opposition, Peter Dutton, for the opportunity to serve in this role,” Hastie said in an emailed statement. “The first duty of the Australian government is to protect our people, values, interests, and sovereignty.”

“That is why the Australian Defence Force must be strong, agile, and resilient.”

Senator Paterson said cyber attacks and foreign interference were two of the “most serious contemporary threats” to Australian democracy and sovereignty.

“In government, the Liberal and National parties led the world in legislating reforms to protect our country from those who sought to use these vectors to undermine our national security,” he said in a statement. “It is critical as a nation we now seize the opportunity presented by AUKUS to further enhance our cyber capabilities.”

“I hope the new Labor government maintains and builds upon our reforms to protect critical infrastructure, combat ransomware, tackle the dark web, and criminalise foreign state interference in our democracy.”

The Albanese Labor government was the first government in the G20 to install a dedicated minister for cyber security, Clare O’Neil, who will also hold the Home Affairs portfolio.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has also removed the Australian Federal Police (AFP) from the Home Affairs portfolio to back under the attorney general’s office, Mark Dreyfus Q.C.

The initial move to consolidate the AFP into Home Affairs occurred under the then-presiding minister, Peter Dutton, who is now the opposition leader.

The move attracted criticism from the AFP union, the Australian Federal Police Association, claiming it was “embarrassing” and made it the “least independent police force” in the country.

However, proponents of the move argued it streamlined operations—particularly around obtaining legal authority for sensitive operations—given the level of integration between the AFP and intelligence agencies such as the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation.

Meanwhile, the shadow ministry will see Karen Andrews return to the Home Affairs portfolio, Barnaby Joyce has been moved to the Veteran Affairs, Luke Howarth to Defence Industry, and Philip Thompson to Assistant Minister for Defence.


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Daniel Y. Teng is based in Sydney. He focuses on national affairs including federal politics, COVID-19 response, and Australia-China relations. Got a tip? Contact him at daniel.teng@epochtimes.com.au.