'Sophisticated state actor' hacks political party & parliament networks

February 18, 2019

Australia’s major political parties have been hacked by a “sophisticated state actor” according to Scott Morrison, as part of a recent intrusion on the parliament house computer network.

This is further evidence that Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi's call for a royal commission into Chinese Communist Party influence in Australia should be heeded - but the Morrison government has refused to mount one.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports, the announcement is likely to intensify speculation that China was behind the cyber attack, which comes just three months before the federal election, though Mr Morrison said there was no evidence of election interference.

The PM said the federal and state electoral commissions and cyber security agencies in the states had been briefed on the incident and the cyber security centre in Canberra had also worked with global anti-virus companies “so the world can detect this malicious activity”.

The prime minister didn’t nominate which country was behind the intrusion and told parliament he did not intend to go into detail about operational matters.

Channel 9 journalist Chris Uhlmann tweeted, "The cyber attack on Parliament and all major parties is being described as "unprecedented" in its level of sophistication. It is a state actor but agencies aren't willing to call which one. Only a handful are thought capable: Israel, Russia, China and the US."

Author of the book, Silent Invasion: China's influence in Australia, Clive Hamilton tweeted in response: "Only China has the motive and capacity to do this. Our government's reluctance to call out bad behaviour is giving in to bullying".

Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi said in May last year on Sky News that the Coalition government needed to be stronger in relation to Chinese Communist Party influence in Australia.

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Royal Commission on China needed

Revelations on the ABC's 4 Corners program show there are serious questions to be answered about the Chinese Community Party's influence in Australian politics. We cannot trust major parties to review their own conduct. We...

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