news Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has acknowledged he is using a private email platform hosted by a non-government provider for official business relating to his ministerial roles, in a revelation which has already reminded commentators of the hot water which US presidential candidate Hilary Clinton found herself in for the same behaviour.
Overnight, The Australian newspaper (we recommend you click here for the full article) revealed that Turnbull and his wife, Lucy Turnbull, operated a private email server, which has been used for purposes including conducting government business. The server has been used during Turnbull’s time as Communications Minister and in his new role as Prime Minister. Turnbull’s office has issued the following statement:
“Many MPs and Ministers use private messaging systems — including SMS, WhatsApp, Wickr, etc and private emails etc — for non-sensitive material for reasons of convenience and superior functionality.”
“All communications or records of a minister which relate to his or her duties are [subject to many exemptions] potentially subject to Freedom of Information whether it is on SMS, a private email server or a Government email server. The majority of Government correspondence is routine and of a non-sensitive nature and is therefore not subject to sensitive security markings.”
The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that the server is hosted by Netregistry, and that it was previously managed by TPP Internet, acquired by Netregistry in 2009.
The news mimics a situation earlier this year in which US presidential candidate Hilary Clinton was revealed to have been using a private email account to send and receive tens of thousands of emails relating to her role of Secretary of State under US President Barack Obama.
Clinton denied using a private email account to send or receive classified information during her role as Secretary of State, but did later apologise for the use of the system for official business, stating that she should have separated the accounts.
Opinion/analysis to follow.
Image credit: Office of Malcolm Turnbull