Australian politics live news: Medibank confirms it will not pay ransom to hackers; Labor announces review of migration system | Australia news

Paying hackers could make Australia a ‘bigger target’, Medibank CEO says

Medibank gave these reasons for not paying the ransom:

Medibank CEO David Koczkar said we again unreservedly apologise to our customers and recognise the distress this cybercrime has caused. Medibank has today announced that no ransom payment will be made to the criminal responsible for this data theft.

Koczkar said:

Based on the extensive advice we have received from cybercrime experts we believe there is only a limited chance paying a ransom would ensure the return of our customers’ data and prevent it from being published. In fact, paying could have the opposite effect and encourage the criminal to directly extort our customers, and there is a strong chance that paying puts more people in harm’s way by making Australia a bigger target.

It is for these reasons we have decided we will not pay a ransom for this event.

This decision is consistent with the position of the Australian government.

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Daniel Hurst

Daniel Hurst

Attorney general’s department did not advise Christian Porter on Morrison’s multiple ministries

The attorney general’s department has told Senate estimates that it did not provide advice to Christian Porter before the then attorney general advised Scott Morrison on the way he could be appointed to multiple ministries. There was a brief exchange this morning regarding revelations from the book Plagued by Simon Benson and Geoff Chambers.

The secretary of the department, Katherine Jones, noted that she was not the secretary at the time, but from her enquiries into the matter she said the department did not provide advice on the matter.

Barnaby Joyce debates Tanya Plibersek on renewables

I regret to inform you that Barnaby Joyce believes he has once again found his groove, and his groove is 2013 climate scaries.

Tanya Plibersek was talking renewables on the Seven network this morning, when Joyce responded:

The only thing in that fairy tale Tanya missed was a house made of liquorice, winged monkeys and a witch on a broomstick. They’re going to create further chaos. It is not dispatchable power. It is not as cheap power*. It is mitten power and it’s the dearest power, and it’s renewables. And we’re seeing that.

Plibersek: That’s not true.

Joyce:

She just said that power prices are going down. So, power prices are going down? Well, I’m sure your listeners are going to check that one in their power bill. As you move towards your targets, which they’ve legislated – they’ve legislated carbon targets – you’re going to become poorer. It’s going to put pressure on manufacturing jobs. The price of power goes up. The price of fuel goes up. The price of food goes up. Ultimately, as I’ve always said, the bunny in the headlights is your listeners. They’re the one who’s pay for this.

And what we’re saying, Chris Bowen going over to Sharm el Sheikh and, you know, it will be a wonderful resort, we’re seeing – the Labor party doesn’t really have anybody who really worked in the manufacturing industry, who worked as manufacturing workers. And they are now saying they will lose up to 100,000 of them.

And the final thing is, Tanya, you’re the government. Stop talking about the previous government*. You’re the government. It’s happening under your watch. And unless there’s a reality check like they have –

Plibersek: And power prices went up under you, Barnaby.

Joyce:

Like in Germany, like in other places where they’re bringing on base load power and coal-fired power stations, then you’re just not going to have the supply. And if you restrict the supply, price goes up. And everything else is a total nursery rhyme.

*Renewables are cheaper and becoming even less expensive.

**The Coalition spoke about the previous Labor government for 10 years.

Happy 6th anniversary of this moment, to those who observe:

Torres Strait Islanders to build seawall outside Parliament House in bid for more climate action

Traditional owners from the Torres Strait are building a mock seawall outside Parliament House, in a bid to get Labor to go further on climate action and protect their islands. It comes after traditional owners won their case with the UN, which argued they should be compensated for climate crisis failures.

Kabay Tamu, Warraber man from the Kulkalgal Nation and claimant in the UN case said:

By building a seawall outside Parliament House, we urge the Albanese government to protect our island homes, as the international community exhorts them to take stronger action on climate change at Cop27.

Rising seas are threatening our homes, swamping burial grounds and washing away sacred cultural sites. If the government fails to take enough action, we could be removed from these islands we have called home for thousands of years. Removing a race of people from our islands is like colonisation all over again for us. You can’t put a price on the connection we have to the land and the sea.

Every high tide, every monsoon season, I see the damage of coastal erosion on my island home of Warraber. Across the Torres Strait Islands, we lose metres of land all the time. It’s happening more often now.

The Our Islands Our Home campaign has set out demands for the Australian government:

  1. Fund adaptation programs that will allow Torres Strait Islander communities to adapt to climate impacts.

  2. Commit to going 100% renewables in Australia in the next 10 years.

  3. Support Torres Strait Islander communities to build community-owned renewable energy.

  4. Transition away from fossil fuels as rapidly as possible through a just transition for workers.

  5. Push the world to increase global ambition and keep warming to less than 1.5 degrees.

This isn’t the major parties – it’s candidates, Senate groups and election donors, so minor parties and independents will be the focus of this. Paul Karp is looking through it all for you.

Paul Karp

Paul Karp

Lambie does not support Labor’s workplace relations bill in current form

Senator Jacqui Lambie has confirmed that she does not support Labor’s secure jobs, better pay bill in its current form.

Lambie told reporters in Canberra that the bill was “mostly pretty good” but Labor in opposition had often complained that government’s attempt at an omnibus bill when they are “trying to hide or rush stuff through”. Lambie said it was “embarrassing” for the government that even unions didn’t have their submissions done by a Friday Senate hearing.

Lambie said concessions made by workplace relations minister Tony Burke only water down some aspects of the multi-employer bargaining provisions, but she has concerns about whether the bill will make it harder for small and medium businesses recovering from Covid.

Lambie said that the abolition of the Australian Building and Construction Commission is a sticking point for her. She said it was “working well” and if the government has problems with the body being anti-union it should replace personnel not abolish the body.

Asked if medium-sized employers should be allowed to opt out of multi-employer bargaining, Lambie replied that “anyone should be able to opt out … regardless of size”.

Lambie is in favour of senator David Pocock’s proposal to split the IR bill.

Migration system review will focus on process

For those wondering, here is a little more detail on the migration review Clare O’Neil announced this morning.

Former public service chief Martin Parkinson will head the review, along with temporary labour migration expert Joanna Howe and John Azarias, a former partner with Deloitte.

It will look at the visa system, how it works and what improvements need to be made, as well as things like the income threshold. But it won’t be looking at population size or anything too political. That’s because the government wants the focus to be on the system.

And in terms of politics, O’Neil and the government are more than capable of pointing fingers (as is the opposition).

So the review is about process, not politics.

Does that mean the findings will be non-political?

I think we all know the answer to that.

Medibank provides update on customer data accessed in cyber-attack

Here is what Medibank reported in terms of what it knows the cyber criminal accessed:

  • Accessed the name, date of birth, address, phone number and email address for around 9.7 million current and former customers and some of their authorised representatives. This figure represents around 5.1 million Medibank customers, around 2.8 million ahm customers and around 1.8 million international customers.

  • Did not access primary identity documents, such as drivers’ licences, for Medibank and ahm resident customers.

  • Accessed health claims data for around 160,000 Medibank customers, around 300,000 ahm customers and around 20,000 international customers.

  • This includes service provider name and location, where customers received certain medical services, and codes associated with diagnosis and procedures administered.

  • Additionally, around 5,200 My Home Hospital (MHH) patients have had some personal and health claims data accessed and around 2,900 next of kin of these patients have had some contact details accessed.

  • Did not access health claims data for extras services (such as dental, physio, optical and psychology).

Paying hackers could make Australia a ‘bigger target’, Medibank CEO says

Medibank gave these reasons for not paying the ransom:

Medibank CEO David Koczkar said we again unreservedly apologise to our customers and recognise the distress this cybercrime has caused. Medibank has today announced that no ransom payment will be made to the criminal responsible for this data theft.

Koczkar said:

Based on the extensive advice we have received from cybercrime experts we believe there is only a limited chance paying a ransom would ensure the return of our customers’ data and prevent it from being published. In fact, paying could have the opposite effect and encourage the criminal to directly extort our customers, and there is a strong chance that paying puts more people in harm’s way by making Australia a bigger target.

It is for these reasons we have decided we will not pay a ransom for this event.

This decision is consistent with the position of the Australian government.

Medibank will not pay ransom to hackers

Medibank have made another announcement to the ASX confirming they will not pay the ransom hackers have demanded not to release information from its data breach.

Multiple bills to be debated heading into Senate’s final two weeks

It’s going to be a big week in the house – the Respect@Work legislation is set to be introduced today with the privacy changes in response to the data breaches to be introduced tomorrow. Which leaves IR for Wednesday and Thursday.

As a blog watcher pointed out, that puts those bills in the Senate for the next two weeks (the Senate’s final two weeks).

That leaves the National Anti-Corruption Commission bill. The report into that is due to be tabled on Thursday which means we won’t see it debated this week. So it looks like a big final fortnight of sittings.

There is still talk – and it’s just talk – of the Senate sitting for an additional week in early December if it doesn’t get through everything. Some in the Coalition see that as just a threat to rush through legislation. Others on the crossbench see it as necessary to properly review everything. But we’ll see whether it happens or not soon.

Second shipment of monkeypox vaccines arrive in Australia

The second shipment of the monkeypox vaccine, Jynneos has made it to Australia and will be distributed to the states and territories. There are about 40,000 vials of that shipment and it coincides with a new awareness campaign which is about to be launched.

Mark Butler says it’s important people continue to get vaccinated:

Through peak organisations Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO), state-based LGBTQ+ health organisation ACON in NSW and Thorne Harbour Health in Victoria, new case numbers have been suppressed in Australia, with only one case diagnosed during October. However, vaccination remains important, particularly as we head into summer and WorldPride events, which will see many international visitors to Australia.

That review also means the skills list is under the spotlight.

Will the review abolish skill lists?

“I don’t have strong preconceptions… what I will say is I don’t think there’s anyone in the country who would argue that the skilled occupation list process is working properly”

@ClareONeilMP

— RN Breakfast (@RNBreakfast) November 6, 2022

Australia’s migration system needs an overhaul, home affairs minister says

Over on ABC radio RN Breakfast, home affairs minister Clare O’Neil is talking about the migration reform review the government has just announced.

The review will look at the visa system, how people interact with it, as well as the potential for criminals to take advantage of loopholes to traffic people.

The review is also designed to try and make the migration system also address Australia’s labour shortages.

O’Neil said the visa system needs an overhaul:

At the moment, there just isn’t sufficient strategy going into how we design that system and think about this critical task. So we need to sort that out. But there is an issue here around the visa processing system and that might sound I’m sure bureaucratic and boring to people out there, but … when we arrived in government, there were a million problems.

Daniel Hurst

Daniel Hurst

Concerns raised over flaw in Labor’s Respect@Work bill

Lawyers, academics and advocates have raised concerns that the Albanese government’s Respect@Work legislation contains a flaw that could “undermine access to justice”.

The bill, which is expected to pass the House of Representatives this week, “will go a significant way to strengthening legal protections against workplace sexual harassment”, according to a joint letter to the attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, and the minister for women, Katy Gallagher.

But the signatories – including the 2015 Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty, and Prof Michelle Ryan, director of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at the ANU – have raised “deep concern at the proposed amendments to the costs provisions in the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986”.

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers and other signatories say the bill proposes a costs neutrality model, whereby litigants bear their own costs unless the court orders otherwise. (The court may make orders as to costs as they consider “just” where “there are circumstances that justify it in doing so”.)

The letter explains:

While superficially the arrangement represents an improvement on the status quo, its design and uncertainty around its operation will in fact serve to undermine access to justice. The proposed model will ultimately make it harder for targets of sexual harassment to vindicate their legal rights; it will deter women from pursuing cases and reduce the compensation that they will achieve if they do proceed.

Taking a costs neutrality approach to a relationship that is characterised by endemic inequality only serves to entrench that inequality. The proposed approach will also make it uneconomical for law firms to offer no-win, no-fee arrangements in discrimination matters and make it unviable to bring class actions against employers.

We urge you to amend the Bill to include an “equal access” asymmetrical costs model. Such an approach would protect a complainant from an adverse costs order, unless they have acted vexatiously or unreasonably, but enable them to recover costs should they succeed. This model would recognise the significant inequality in resources between complainants in sexual harassment matters and their employers. It would also underscore the wider public interest in those who have been sexually harassed vindicating their legal rights.

Other signatories to the letter include Shine Lawyers, Grata Fund, Public Interest Advocacy Centre, Australian Council of Trade Unions, and Australian Women Lawyers Ltd.

Good morning

Welcome back to parliament.

There are only three scheduled house sitting weeks left – and just eight days for the Senate, which will spend this week in budget estimates.

So no legislation is getting passed this week. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to see some legislative fights.

Tony Burke and the government really want to see the IR bill get through the parliament and have set a very tight timeline to make it happen. So far Burke has compromised on a couple of sticking points – including changing multi-employer bargaining from a majority across the sector to a majority in each business. There is also potential for the government to move on the introduction of the changes, with talk of a six-month grace period in the works.

But the government will have to spend this week trying to win over a Senate crossbencher or two. Jacqui Lambie and David Pocock are the two most likely and so far neither are budging.

Meanwhile, Labor senators will find themselves on the other side of the table this week as Senate estimates gets under way in earnest. The Coalition are intent in poking holes in the budget and in particular anything to do with the cost of living, so that’s going to be a long week for some of the Labor ministers.

And it’s all playing out in the shadow of the 27th Cop, being held in Egypt. Anthony Albanese isn’t there – Chris Bowen is.

Australia doesn’t have much new to say, but Adam Morton will be covering what the meeting decides – as well as poking into some of the schemes meant to improve Australia’s position.

You have Katharine Murphy, Sarah Martin, Paul Karp, Josh Butler and Daniel Hurst watching all the happenings in Parliament House for you and the entire Guardian brains trust watching what’s happening outside of Canberra.

Amy Remeikis is with you on the blog for most of the day.

Ready? It’s a three coffee day minimum. Hope you have yours.

Let’s get into it.

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