Liberal cybersecurity bill a ‘bad law’ that must be amended, research report warns
The proposed “cyberspace defence act” has been the sole area of disagreement in the Senate during the National Security and Defence Review Act debate.
A report from the Senate’s National Security Committee has warned that the bill’s wording, by linking the law to the CSIRO, “leads to the impression that the proposed CyberSecurity Act is a law that is actually a defence bill”.
The report, released on Wednesday night, said the bill is fundamentally flawed.
“The proposed CyberSecurity Act is fundamentally flawed because it is a law that is based more on the CSIRO than on the Australian government,” it read.
The report was authored by senators from both sides of politics, including the Coalition’s deputy leader, Barnaby Joyce, and Labor leader Bill Shorten, which represents NSW in the Senate.
The committee was given access to a draft of the bill, which was then released to the public for a two-week public consultation period.
The report said the draft bill contained three major flaws, which were not flagged when it was drawn up by the Cyber Security Unit (CSU).
The first was the inclusion of the Cyber Security Agency Act.
“The CSU proposed to amend the Act by substituting the title of the CSIR with the CSIR Act,” the report read. “The Committee was advised by counsel for the CSU that there was ‘grave concern’ that the title of the CSIR Act would lead to any suggestion that the Act might be a ‘cyberspace defence law’. This title may well lead to the suggestion that the act may be perceived as a law that is actually a security defence bill.”
The second flaw was the inclusion of a section on cybersecurity policy coordination.
“The CSU proposed the addition of a new section 8D…in this document,” the report read.
The new section, which was