Joint media release:

  • Senator James Paterson
    Shadow Minister for Cyber Security
    Shadow Minister for Countering Foreign Interference
    Liberal Senator for Victoria

Labor’s changing positions and slow action on its response to the Optus data leak is increasing stress and confusion for those affected.

While the Coalition supports Labor’s belated move towards recovering costs from Optus for the replacement of affected Australians’ passports, they are offering no certainty to those impacted.

The Albanese Government needs to guarantee victims of the Optus cyber hack will not have to choose between paying passport replacement fees or protecting their privacy and identity.

Immediate action should be taken to guarantee victims the opportunity to obtain a new passport now without charge, while terms to cover costs are negotiated with Optus.

This Government needs to learn to walk and chew gum at the same time.

Minister Wong also has questions to answer after allowing the Department of Foreign Affairs to publish on its website yesterday a blunt message to victims that “If you choose to replace your passport, you’ll have to pay”, and that, “We weren’t responsible for the data breach.” The advice has since been changed without an apology.

It has been seven days since the Government was notified of the attack, leaving millions of Australians vulnerable to identity fraud. Action to assist victims is taking this Government too long.

Optus Data breach – The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade