Oz telco security laws might miss 2015 deadline

Musical chairs in Canberra stalls legislative agenda

Speculation is emerging that the changing of the guard in Canberra is going to delay the implementation of the government's much-criticised telecommunications security regime.

The laws, which among other things require carriers to reveal their network security arrangements to the Attorney-General's Department and notify the department if there's any change to the architecture, were scheduled to pass federal parliament by the end of the year.

The telecommunications industry has looked with some dismay at the example of New Zealand, where high-profile software-defined network development work has been abandoned because a national security sign-off is incompatible with networks that can reconfigure themselves in a matter of seconds.

Now, industry newsletter Communications Day reports that the elevation of Malcolm Turnbull to the prime ministership, and the consequent appointment of Mitch Fifield as new communications minister, is going to delay the bill.

The industry had been calling for amendments to the legislation, but Comms Day says the disruption to Canberra's schedules has been such that nothing's yet turned up.

With only a handful of sitting weeks left, it appears unlikely that a new minister can get across the brief, consult with the industry, and bring amendments to parliament in time for a 2015 passage of the bill.

Given that there's a federal election due in 2016, Vulture South would add its own voice to the speculation: it's feasible, but unlikely, that the legislation might be abandoned. ®

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