None of the devices were installed at politicians’ offices at Parliament House in Canberra.
Officials said the department wrote to politicians in July, soon after the election of the Albanese government, to advise them the devices should be replaced.
Paterson, the opposition cybersecurity minister, said he was shocked by the prevalence of the cameras in Australian government buildings.
“We urgently need a plan from the Albanese government to rip every one of these devices out of Australian government departments and agencies,” Paterson said.
China’s Foreign Ministry has accused the Australian government of discriminating against Chinese products and “abusing state power to discriminate against and suppress Chinese companies”.
The government has said that security concerns about the devices have existed for years, raising questions about why the Coalition had not acted to remove them when in power.
Foreign Minister Penny Wong said last week that she had asked her department to speed up the replacement of the cameras despite having minimal security concerns about their operation in sensitive areas such as defence and foreign affairs.
“The advice to me is [that] they don’t have security concerns because they’re not connected to the internet, and they’re not connected to our own system,” Wong told the ABC on Friday. “But obviously, there was a decision made to remove them, and I’ve asked that be accelerated.”
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