Much more can be done immediately, to help reduce known risks, posed by ‘lone wolf attacks’, home-grown terrorists, or from those who have returned to Australia after fighting in Syria and Iraq, especially prior to the soft-target events of the Melbourne Cup and final run-up to the G20 in Brisbane, next month, according to Homeland Security Asia/Pacific.
The Federal Government has invested heavily in creating a National Security hotline, call centre and putting information online – all yet to be universally embraced by the average, authority-averse Aussie! For example, have you stored this vital number in your personal phone, or read any of the tips?
“It’s time for Australia to wake up! We all have a role, because the combined uniformed resources of the AFP and ADF of about 100,000, cannot guarantee to protect the nation”, said HSAP Director, Roger Henning, in Sydney.
A doorstop, two-question poll of parliamentarians, would be a starting point for a call to action! “Good morning Minister! Do you know the National Security hot-line number?” “Is it stored in your phone?” Newspapers, magazines, radio talkback and TV news programs can help by promoting the Hotline number, as a public service – because media locations are easy-to-penetrate soft targets.
“How many Australian Federal and State politicians; influential journalists, broadcasters, commentators and TV presenters have memorised the Security Hotline number and stored it in their phones? It is human nature to believe car accidents, exotic diseases and acts of terrorism only claim the lives of others”, Roger said.
“It’s a 100/1 bet almost all Australians know Melbourne Cup Day is on Tuesday 4 November, because it is a national event and day off for Federal Parliament! The challenge for the media is to establish why the National Security hotline is not front-of-mind? If the leaders of the nation believe their entitlements include immunity from acts of terrorism, they are wrong! Leaders lead and have the responsibility to set an example for their constituents.
“There is no need for Australians to be greatly concerned or alarmed, but there is an urgent need for action and more integration to be introduced. When Governments go public with warnings of possible attacks – the driver is credible information – as stressed by former ASIO Director, David Irvine, in the months prior to his recent retirement.
“The appointment of Duncan Lewis, as Director General of Security and ASIO, Australia’s domestic spy agency, was a masterstroke by the Abbott Government! However, no matter how professional they be, no law enforcement or INTEL agency in the world, can be everywhere and guarantee to protect everyone from existing major threats, or a mass casualty attack”, he said.
PARADIGM SHIFT REQUIRED FOR AUSTRALIA’S APPROACH TO NATIONAL SECURITY MEASURES
All Politicians – Coalition, Labor, Greens, PUP and Independents, need to review decision-making processes, impacted by the same old accepted approach to National Security. They need to push the refresh button – to think outside the square.
“The West must move from its existing approach and counter terrorism methodology of silo/ stovepipe resourcing, applications and procedures, to a holistic application using full integration of all resources within an environment or facility, such as airports, sporting venues – and Parliament House Canberra! Fit, disciplined, young, ex-servicemen and women, could be employed to enhance the skill sets of existing civilian attendants, to augment the ADF presence and armed AFP officers, at Parliament House, Canberra and State Houses of Parliament.
“It is important for political leaders in the Federal and State Parliaments, to understand and comprehend the intent of extremists and their willingness to exploit our democratic system/society to cause extreme harm, death and destruction for their cause. Extremists do not understand reason and won’t accept our lifestyle or democracy, despite the counselling efforts of parents and community leaders.
Most would-be Australian terrorists / extremists are opposed to democratic principles and western ways! They are angry, marginalised, malcontents looking for their five minutes of fame. IS has exploited their social isolation and discontent for recruitment purposes, in exactly the same way the Australian Communist Party operated and recruit years ago, to expand its support base.
“Greater use of existing, available resources will make a difference. India is the latest country to start training its airport workforce in public safety and security awareness, while Australia merely increased AFP presence on Sydney Airport. This is unacceptable, after several countries and Gulf States have reduced the number of uniformed security personnel on airports; and replaced them with less obvious, less intimidating security specialists, in mufti!
“The big news this week was the deployment of 100 extra AFP on Sydney Airport, which is more of the same, when policy makers lack the will and creative ability to think of something new and holistic. Not much point increasing AFP numbers, if extremists can still get through the perimeter fence or lob a stolen shoulder-launched rocket into an aircraft on take-off or landing!
In real terms, it translates to 50 extra uniformed AFP officers, if you take into account there are two shifts, the increase drops to 25 max, when ‘resource sharing’ replaces others on stress/ recreational leave, or taking days off in lieu. The actual additional AFP resources may well amount to as little as 10 – 12 staff a shift, to cover the total Sydney Airport precinct, which handles millions of passengers and visitors annually, plus airfreight/cargo operations, at the international and domestic terminals.
No effort has been made to train and engage the available Sydney airport workforce in public safety and security awareness, let alone the 300,000=strong nationwide airport workforce.protective
“Speaker of the House, Bronwyn Bishop, claims our Parliament is more secure than the Canadian Parliament, with state-of-the-art security measures in place! It is true security is regularly reviewed and updated, but constantly compromised by the same old approach to National Security.
“The elephant in the room is widespread apathy and complacency, due to entrenched practices and a lack of creativity and ingenuity! It’s time to change policy applications and resource useage. Our HSAP approach to problem solving, requires a paradigm shift away from reliance on more of the same”, Roger said