Australien – New Bill to enhance security at Defence bases

Minister for Defence Senator John Faulkner today introduced a Bill to make Australian military bases more secure.

The Bill was developed following a Defence review of its protective security arrangements, after the August 2009 arrest of a number of people allegedly planning an attack against Holsworthy Army Base.

“This Bill would strengthen the Department of Defence’s ability to deter, detect and respond to incidents that threaten the security of Defence bases, facilities, assets and personnel within Australia,” Senator Faulkner said.

Senator Faulkner said the Bill acknowledged the contemporary security environment in Australia, including the threat of terrorism. The Bill only has application within Australia and will not affect ADF operational activities overseas.

The Bill provides explicit authority for authorised Defence Force members to defend themselves, or others, from death or serious injury in the event of an attack on Defence premises. The common law right of all individuals to defend themselves will continue to apply; as will the various Commonwealth, State and Territory legislative provisions that provide a defence of self-defence.

The Bill will also provide search and seizure powers to reduce the risk of dangerous items entering Defence premises – or weapons and classified information being unlawfully removed – and will strengthen Defence’s ability to detect and deal with trespassers.

“Security at Defence bases is constantly under review,” Senator Faulkner said.

“It is appropriate that Defence continues to enhance security in response to the changing nature of security threats.”

“Civil police forces will still have the prime responsibility to respond to security incidents at Defence premises. But the Bill will give authorised Defence Force members legal protection when defending themselves or others in the event of an attack on Defence premises,” Senator Faulkner said.

Defence is also implementing a range of other policy and physical security measures as a result of the review.

Media contacts:
Colin Campbell (John Faulkner): 02 6277 7800 or 0407 787 181
Defence Media Liaison: 02 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664

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