Former PJCIS chair named shadow cyber security minister

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Former PJCIS chair named shadow cyber security minister

James Paterson takes portfolio in Dutton's shadow ministry.

Liberal senator James Paterson has been named Shadow Minister for Cyber Security and Countering Foreign Interference in opposition leader Peter Dutton’s shadow ministry.

The former chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security was appointed on Sunday, with the portfolio now separate from Shadow Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews.

Paterson, who joined the senate in 2016, is a first-time shadow minister, having spent the last six years serving on committees.

Prior to joining parliament in 2016, Patterson spent five years as the deputy executive director of the right-wing lobby group the Institute of Public Affairs.

He also has also worked at the Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and was previously a staffer for then Liberal senator Mitch Fifield between 2006 and 2010.

“I am honoured to have been appointed as Shadow Minister for Cyber Security and Countering Foreign Interference by Opposition Leader Peter Dutton,” Paterson said in a statement.

“Cyber attacks and foreign interference are two of the most serious contemporary threats to Australia’s democracy, freedom 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.

“It is critical as a nation we now seize the opportunity presented by AUKUS to further enhance our cyber capabilities.”

Paterson said he hopes the “government maintains and builds upon our reforms to protect critical infrastructure, combat ransomware, tackle the dark web and criminalise foreign state inference”.

“I will work hard every day to hold them to account and ensure they do not cut the record funding or wind back the new powers we provided key national security agencies including the Australian Signals Directorate, ASIO and the Australian Federal Police.”

Other appointments to the shadow ministry include former communications minister MP Paul Fletcher as Minister for Science, the Digital Economy and Government Services.

Senator Sarah Henderson has been appointed Shadow Minister for Communications, while deputy opposition leader Susan Ley has been appointed Shadow Minister for Industry, Skills and Training.

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