Shadow Minister for Home Affairs, Child Protection & Prevention of Family Violence – Transcript – Sky News 9 March
Subjects: TikTok ban, Reserve Bank loans
PETER STEFANOVIC: The FBI is warning that the Chinese government could use TikTok to gather the data from millions of Americans. Officials are outlining worldwide threats to Washington in front of a Senate hearing that’s taking place at the moment. TikTok’s alleged “security risks” are further fuelling speculation that Chinese owned app could be banned in the U.S.
PETER STEFANOVIC: That’s alarming! Joining us now is the Shadow Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews. Karen good morning, thanks for your time this morning, what’s your thoughts on that exchange – “they can control data, they can control software but can also drive narratives if they want.”
KAREN ANDREWS: Yes, it’s very concerning. I listened to some of the evidence provided by head of the FBI Christopher Wray and he went into quite a level of detail about his concerns in regards to data collection, narratives that could be forced through the collection of information and data but certainly with the algorithms that are used. He went into quite a bit of detail which is very concerning. Now what I would say is that from the work that James Paterson has done, we know that there is a pretty ad-hoc approach to TikTok through our government agencies and departments, I think the first thing to do is to ban TikTok on any devices that are held by Government Officials, including MPs and Senators. We should not have access to that on our phones and we should be very closely monitoring the data that has been collected so far from those individuals who do have TikTok on their devices – so that’s the first step. There really needs to be serious investigation work done, and then some work done to make sure that individuals here, particularly younger people understand that how much of their data is now available effectively by the Chinese Government.
PETER STEFANOVIC: So can it be used then as a propaganda tool and if so, why ban – I mean, I know this is never going to happen – but why stop it at government owned or held devices, why not expand that advice across the board.
KAREN ANDREWS: Well, the evidence is showing that it can be used to force narratives as well. Christopher Wray gave that evidence to the Senate enquiry in the United States. I think the first step is to look at Government Agencies and Departments, but yes I think there needs to be a much broader consideration of the use of TikTok in Australia. Now unfortunately many people don’t understand the amount of data that is available out there and how it can be used and misused, so there is an education component to that. But really the Government needs to look at what it is going to do to protect Australians.
PETER STEFANOVIC: As things are at the moment, there is no ban in place and James Paterson, I’ve spoken to him many times about this and the Government does appear to be very slow to responding to this. How much of a national security threat can TikTok or could TikTok be?
KAREN ANDREWS: It could be a huge threat to our National Security and again that came out in evidence in the United States. So it is widely regarded as a national security risk and that’s why it’s disappointing in the absolute least that the government here in Australia has done very little to act and to protect our devices and to make sure they’re communicating to the Australian people: (a) what they’re doing, and (b) how to protect themselves.
PETER STEFANOVIC: I mean it’s extraordinary that this is taking place in the United States now and James, I had him on last week and he said that he wrote to the Home Affairs Minister 8 months ago about this and there still hasn’t been a change. Karen, almost out of time but I do want to get your response to a story that [inaudible] broke yesterday, that the RBA Governor got a taxpayer subsidised half price mortgage to buy his home. He’s paid his home off, good luck to him, but when he’s turning up the heat on homeowners now, does that show he is out of touch?
KAREN ANDREWS: Look, I think it was a really interesting story and I’ll be interested myself how this unfolds. On the one hand, many people do get a benefit from their employer but in this case, you’ve got to look at it and say well this is actually a benefit that’s being funded by the tax payer and in the circumstances, is this an appropriate perk of employment.
PETER STEFANOVIC: 11 staff still enjoy that perk, should that be allowed?
KAREN ANDREWS: I think it needs to be looked at, as do many other perks that are part of people’s terms and conditions of employment, to see whether or not that is something that should be allowed to continue. For those individuals who have accessed it, on the one hand, it is a term and condition of their employment, but on the other hand, there is a lot of people out there doing it very tough at the moment – will they see it as a good idea? I think they’ll probably say No.
PETER STEFANOVIC: Karen Andrews, thanks for your time. [END]