(Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

Dutts at war It's comforting to see Peter Dutton charging the ramparts of the Chinese communist state (regardless of Dutton's interesting history with Chinese billionaires), with his assurances the Australian Defence Force is "prepared for action". Presumably he means we can swing our two operational submarines into the South China Sea at a moment's notice.

The defence minister also declared he was prepared to "call out" state-based cyber attacks. Yes, that's right, in a statement that will have China's millions-strong cyber army quaking in their boots, he's promised he'll name states behind cyber attacks if it's in our interests to do so. That is, instead of the government backgrounding its tame national security journos that it was China, it will cut to the chase and name China in the press release.

What would help, of course, is if our institutions of government were well defended from cyber attacks. As Crikey has reported (and which other media outlets seem entirely ignorant of), even our most important government departments, such as the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, don't do the most basic cybersecurity. Among the worst offenders was Dutton's old department, Home Affairs, which for a long time refused to upgrade its systems to comply with basic requirements and these days refuses to comment on whether it's compliant.