Gillard plays down Chinese hacking claims

Last updated 17:24 28/05/2013
Julia Gillard
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HACK ATTACK: Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

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Prime Minister Julia Gillard says reports about Chinese cyber attacks against Australia are inaccurate.

The current affairs show Four Corners examined Chinese cyber attacks this week, claiming one such attack netted the hackers top secret and detailed blueprints of spy agency ASIO's new headquarters in Canberra.

"As the attorney-general has stated - neither he nor the director-general of ASIO intend to comment further on these inaccurate reports," Gillard told parliament on Tuesday.

But she did not elaborate on what elements of the reports were wrong.

The ASIO hacking claims have coincided with a fresh political fight over Labor's funding of intelligence and national security agencies.

Gillard says all Australia's intelligence agencies are in a position to keep the country safe with the resources they currently have.

"I reject any suggestion that funding to Australia's intelligence agencies has been cut," she said.

A critical parliamentary committee review tabled in parliament on Monday relates to the 2010/11 budgets, she pointed out.

The more recent 2013/14 budget increases ASIO's funding by around A$32 million, she said.

Labor has increased ASIO funding from A$291m in 2007/08 to $369m in 2013/14, a 27 per cent boost, she said.

Average staffing level have also increased, she said.

Gillard also spoke about the arrest of an alleged jihadist charged with using a carriage service to make a threat and threatening to cause harm to a Commonwealth public official.

Counter terrorism officers arrested 23-year-old Milad bin Ahmad-Shah al-Ahmadzai on Monday.

The arrest coincided with a report that Australian soldiers were warned to avoid the man in the wake of the gruesome murder of a British soldier in the streets of London last week.

"In recent days Australians have seen the footage of an horrific attack in London on an individual soldier," Gillard said.

"That is some of the most disturbing footage I've ever seen.

"The implications of this incident for Australia has been considered by our national security committee."

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- AAP

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