Australia — Defence bases security bill reintroduced

Today I rein­tro­duced into Par­lia­ment a Bill to enhance secu­ri­ty at Defence bases across Aus­tralia. The Bill, pre­vi­ous­ly intro­duced in June, lapsed when the Fed­er­al elec­tion was called.

Today’s rein­tro­duc­tion reflects the Government’s com­mit­ment to strength­en Defence’s capac­i­ty to deter, detect and respond to any attack on a base. 

The Bill recog­nis­es the chang­ing secu­ri­ty envi­ron­ment, includ­ing the increased risk of ter­ror­ism. It was devel­oped fol­low­ing a Defence review of pro­tec­tive secu­ri­ty arrange­ments after the August 2009 arrest of a num­ber of peo­ple alleged­ly plan­ning an armed attack against Holswor­thy Army Base. 

A num­ber of these men are present­ly fac­ing ter­ror­ism charges in the Supreme Court of Vic­to­ria in rela­tion to these allegations. 

The Bill will pro­vide explic­it author­i­ty for autho­rised Defence Force mem­bers to pro­tect them­selves, or oth­ers, from death or seri­ous injury in the event of an attack on a Defence base. It only has appli­ca­tion with­in Aus­tralia and will not affect Aus­tralian Defence Force (ADF) oper­a­tional activ­i­ties overseas. 

Under exist­ing statu­to­ry pro­vi­sions, Defence Force mem­bers are able to defend them­selves from an attack. This Bill will pro­vide greater cer­tain­ty about the actions that appro­pri­ate­ly trained and autho­rised Defence Force mem­bers could take to pro­tect peo­ple in the event of an attack on a Defence base. 

Civ­il police will still have the pri­ma­ry respon­si­bil­i­ty for respond­ing to secu­ri­ty inci­dents at Defence premis­es. The Bill will give autho­rised Defence Force mem­bers enhanced pow­ers to assist in pro­tect­ing peo­ple on Defence premises. 

The Bill also pro­vides search and seizure pow­ers to reduce the risk of dan­ger­ous items being brought onto Defence premis­es, or weapons and clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion being unlaw­ful­ly removed. It will also improve the abil­i­ty to detect and deal with tres­passers on Defence premises. 

Secu­ri­ty at Defence bases is under con­stant review. In addi­tion to the Bill, Defence is imple­ment­ing a range of oth­er secu­ri­ty mea­sures as a result of its pro­tec­tive secu­ri­ty review.
Mr Smith’s Office: Mary Bag­nall (02) 6277 7800 or 0434 665 067
Depart­men­tal: (02) 6127 1999 

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Australia 

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