The Australian Labor Party understands the important of cybersecurity to a nation.
The security and protection of our nations, our institutions and our shared beliefs is a goal shared by all members
of this parliament. Of course, so is the lasting defeat of ISIS. The defeat of ISIS requires, as we all know, a multipronged
attack upon them, and this includes the disruption of cyber operations. The importance of protecting our
government agencies from digital attacks is on par with the more traditional methods of warfare.
We know that we must never downplay how devastating digital attacks can be to a nation. I noted in the Fin
Review an opinion piece published on 22 November that says:
According to industry sources, the average cost of a cyber attack for Australian businesses is about $622,000 and
about three-quarters of all Australian businesses have been attacked in the past year …
The article also reports that the government's Computer Emergency Response Team has responded to over 14,000
incidents affecting Australian businesses, with just over 400 of those incidents involving 'systems of national
interest as well as critical infrastructure'.
Labor recognise that preventing digital attacks is important to our national security. As we heard yesterday in
the statement by the Leader of the Opposition, that is why in 2010 Labor opened the Cyber Security Operations
Centre and adopted our first comprehensive National Cyber Security Strategy, providing our armed services
personnel with the tools they need to combat all types of attacks on our nation's security. Enhancing a nation's
security involves pulling together many elements within our society—different cultures, shared beliefs, common
traits—and requires the leadership skills to successfully do this. It also requires respect for and an understanding
of the fabric of society, and a commitment to inclusiveness and egalitarian ideals. At the moment, leadership is
sadly lacking within the government ranks.
We have a Prime Minister telling members of the Muslim community that ISIL wants them to believe they are not
wanted in Australia, they are not accepted here and they never will be. This Prime Minister has also been quoted
as singing the praises of former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser—that he was 'ahead of his time' and 'remarkable'.
I want to contrast that today with the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection telling members of
our multicultural community last week that they were 'a mistake' and are not welcome here. The minister for
immigration even turned on former Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser while delivering his shocking and,
in my opinion, ill-informed tirade against members of the Australian multicultural community. Last week, the
minister for immigration stated:
The reality is Malcolm Fraser did make mistakes in bringing some people in the 1970s …
During the week, I made a statement to the House about these remarks. In particular, I reflected on the contribution
of the Vietnamese community in our nation. I am privileged to represent one of the largest concentrations of
Vietnamese Australians in the country, in the electorate of Oxley. During the seventies we saw some remarkable
Australians arrive on our shores who were fleeing a brutal Communist regime. They risked their lives in pursuit
of freedom and a better way of life for not only their children but their grandchildren as well.
Over the years that I have represented that community—first at the Brisbane City Council level and now in the
national parliament—I have made literally hundreds and hundreds of friends from the Vietnamese community.
The two things they value more than anything else are freedom of speech and democracy. They have contributed
so much to our community in the south-west of Brisbane, just as all our migrant communities have done right
across Australia in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. They have contributed through great economic achievements.
Every time I visit a school in my electorate, I see academic excellence from young Vietnamese students. I see and
visit language schools on the weekend, where we are protecting and enhancing the Vietnamese culture, language
and way of life. They love being Australians.
That we could have a minister for immigration in this country trashing their reputation, saying that the children
and grandchildren of immigrants to Australia, who have contributed so much, are somehow second-class citizens
does not sit well with me and it does not sit well with the constituents that I represent.
According to the ABS, in the period between July 1970 and June 1980, Australia received 32,207 settler arrivals
from Lebanon, which represented 3.4 per cent of the total settler arrivals for that year.
This sort of dog whistling—these sorts of offensive comments, which have not been repudiated by the Prime
Minister and which he is refusing to condemn—does nothing to keep Australia safe or deal with national security
issues. It simply reinforces division in our community. I note that during the week we have also seen the Fraser
government immigration minister Ian Macphee singling out the comments by the immigration minister, Peter
Dutton, as 'ignorant, alarmist'. Ian Macphee was the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs from 1979 to
1982, and he labelled the comments by the current immigration minister as 'outrageous'. Mr Macphee said the
'attack'—that is the word he used—had 'prompted justifiable anger from the community'.
I can report to the House that there is disappointment and dismay from members of my community, proud
Australians who do not see themselves as second- or third-generation immigrants; they see themselves as
Australian. The minister stands condemned from those comments. They are alarmist, they are unnecessary and
they do nothing to deal with the national security issues. This is precisely what our opponents want to see: division
and Australians against each other.
I also note that a former leader of the Liberal Party, John Hewson, has slammed the immigration minister. Dr
Hewson led the Liberal Party from 1990 until 1994, and he also has joined a chorus of Australians—mainstream,
moderate Liberals, who sadly are lacking in this parliament—and has called on the Prime Minister to show some
leadership. He is quoted in The Sydney Morning Herald as saying:
"But, why make this point now? Is this a cheap attempt to appeal to the anti-immigration, anti-refugee movement?
"Time for forward-looking leadership— time to rise above the mire."
During the term of the Fraser government, we saw as many as 200,000 migrants arrive in Australia from Asia,
and these were deliberate policies focused on multiculturalism and resettlement. This is not just an issue of
multiculturalism; it is an issue of economic benefit to our nation. We have seen time and time again the economic
and cultural benefit of the migration policies of both sides of politics. To think we are now trashing that bipartisan
nature of immigration and multiculturalism is a shame for this time in our history. But I certainly hope that in
the future we will see a higher standard not only from this minister and this Prime Minister but ultimately from