Prime Minister Julia Gillard appears set to take personal control of cyber security as part of the ministerial reshuffle she announced yesterday.
Cyber security matters have until now been the fiefdom of Attorney-General Robert McClelland. One of his major achievements was establishment of CERT Australia.
McClelland has now been moved out of the A-G’s office to become Minister for Housing and Homelessness, though he will also look after emergency management and remains a member of Cabinet. Former Health Minister Nicola Roxon, a former lawyer who has been steering through the e-health program, becomes Australia’s first female Attorney-General.
Government and industry insiders say Gillard’s move could give sharper teeth to an upcoming cyber security white paper being drafted by PM’s and Cabinet.
Meanwhile also quietly demoted is Innovations Minister Kim Carr, whose formal responsibilities included the IT industry – though he launched few policy initiatives in this area.
Carr becomes Minister for Manufacturing and Defence Materiel and is no longer an inner Cabinet member.
Innovations now becomes one of the responsibilities of up-and-coming Greg Combet, appointed Minister for Industry and Innovation, as well as keeping his existing portfolios of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency. Unlike Carr, who is a Kevin Rudd supporter, Combet is a close ally of Julia Gillard – and he’s in Cabinet.
There may also be some role for IT within the portfolio of Senator Chris Evans, now Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills. Science and Research, as well as Government Leader in the Senate. Gillard noted this new portfolio “will mean better links between industry, innovation, science, research and tertiary education”.
Tanya Plibersek becomes Health Minister, facing the huge problems surrounding implementation of the Government’s personal electronic health records program
There’s no change for Comms and Broadband Minister Stephen Conroy, secure in his task of seeing as much as possible of the NBN gets rolled out before the next election. Likewise, Penny Wong remains in charge of Finance, which includes AGIMO, the outfit responsible for ITC implementation across all government agencies.