On 7 February, iTWire wrote to Taylor, asking whether Australia was thinking of any kind of regulation of cryptocurrencies, given that China, India, the US and South Korea were reported to be considering regulation.
That evening, I had a response from Sarah Bucknell, a media adviser to Taylor, who asked for some more information about the proposed story and the deadline.
My response was that in the last few days, China, South Korea, India and the US had expressed their intentions to either regulate or else said they would ban cryptocurrencies.
"What is Australia doing? Is there any move to regulate these assets? Is the government seized of the matter? Or is there no interest in it at all? That's what the story is about – or what I would like it to be.
"Deadline? Well, until something arrives from you, there is no story. If you can send me something by 11am on Thursday, it would be good." The Thursday mentioned was 8 February.
On 13 February, I sent Bucknell another email asking what had happened, and requesting that if there was no response, then that was okay, but that I needed to know so I could go ahead with my story.
On 26 February, I contacted Bucknell by phone but was only able to leave a message as nobody picked up the line.
Thus one can only come to the following conclusions:
- Australia has no policy on cryptocurrencies.
- Taylor will only speak to big media organisations; he appeared on the ABC last week, claiming that Australia was well ahead of other countries in cyber policy.
- Media advisers figure that pesky and awkward queries about their bosses' policy responsibilities should be ignored.
- All ministers who take up the cyber security portfolio follow in the steps of Dan Tehan. As detailed here, that's not the best path to follow.