The Hon Julie Bishop MPWe live in the most interconnected era in human history. Instantaneous communications, transactions, and access to information keep our economies growing, infrastructure operating, governments working and people in touch. Technology will continue to fundamentally change the way we live, work and relate to one another.

The borderless nature of cyberspace means international cyber issues present opportunities and challenges for all Australians, every day.

Digital trade, cyber-enabled intellectual property theft, technology for development and operations to influence elections are some of the ways cyber affairs permeate our international conversations.

The 2016 Cyber Security Strategy committed to expanding on how Australia will attain global responsibility and influence in cyberspace.

Now, more than ever, we must engage with the international community as exciting possibilities emerge, critical debates unfold and global rules are agreed.

Australia's first International Cyber Engagement Strategy states Australia's comprehensive international cyber affairs agenda. It sets a clear vision of Australia's interests and objectives in cyberspace over the next three years.

Reflecting Australia's broad view of cyber affairs, this Strategy establishes a whole-of-Government approach across seven key themes: Digital Trade, Cyber Security, Cybercrime, International Security, Internet Governance & Cooperation, Human Rights & Democracy Online and Technology for Development. The Strategy is supported by a practical action plan.

The Foreign Policy White Paper, currently under development, will reiterate our understanding of the significant and growing importance of cyber issues to Australia's foreign policy. It will also chart a course to position Australia for opportunity, while managing the risks of our increasingly interconnected world.

Our international cyber engagement protects Australians and promotes our interests. It positions us to harness opportunities and increase our cyber resilience. An open, free and secure Internet drives economic growth, enhances our national security and fosters international stability.

Australia remains committed to a peaceful online environment.

The activities of states in cyberspace have implications for us all. Cyberspace is not an ungoverned space. Just like in the physical domains, states have rights but they also have obligations. Existing international law applies to states' conduct in cyberspace, complemented by agreed norms of responsible state behaviour.

Increasingly, states are testing the boundaries of what is and isn't acceptable in cyberspace. Australia will cooperate with its international partners to deter, mitigate and attribute malicious cyber activity by criminals, state actors and their proxies, including those that seek to interfere in the internal democratic processes of states.

Australia's cyber affairs agenda is global in perspective and regional in focus.

As a responsible contributor to the international community, we have a platform to engage on cyber policy issues within global forums. Strong participation in global cyber cooperation efforts benefits Australia's national and economic interests. It also positions Australia to take a leading international role in shaping the future of cyberspace.

The Indo-Pacific region presents significant digital opportunities and complex cyber challenges. It is home to some of the most advanced digital economies as well as countries whose digital development is still in its early stages. It is here, in the Indo-Pacific, that Australia can best leverage our cyber capacity building resources to support and open, free and secure Internet.

Digital technologies are profound enablers of sustainable development and economic growth.

Australia will work to improve connectivity and access to the Internet across the Indo-Pacific. We will encourage the use of resilient development-enabling technologies for egovernance and digital delivery of services. We will also support entrepreneurship, help develop a digital ready workforce and promote our region's further integration into the global market place.

This Strategy sets out Australia's plan to promote confidence in the online environment, increase economic opportunities, reduce losses attributable to cybercrime, minimise the risks of strategic miscalculation in cyberspace, promote multi-stakeholder Internet governance, protect human rights online and deliver sustainable development outcomes.

I look forward to engaging with governments at home and abroad, the private sector, civil society and academia to enhance the prosperity and security of Australia, our region, and the world.


The Hon Julie Bishop MP
Minister for Foreign Affairs

4 October 2017

Introduction by the Ambassador for Cyber Affairs