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Thursday, 13 February 2003
Page: 11833

Mr MARTIN FERGUSON (2:15 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Transport and Regional Services and the Acting Prime Minister. I refer to his answer to the member for Braddon yesterday, when he boasted about his announcement of `a very substantial increase in screening and security at the nation's airports'. Isn't it a fact, confirmed in Senate estimates, that only four extra airports will get screening as a result of your announcement? Acting Prime Minister, why are you spending $20 million of taxpayers' money on fridge magnets instead of providing greater protection for Australians by substantially increasing the security screening in our nation's airports?

Mr ANDERSON (Acting Prime Minister) —I thank the honourable member for his question. The very extensive further increase in aviation security screening arrangements at the 29 categorised airports across Australia is very much on the public record. As for this constant campaign—because that is what it is—from those opposite in relation to the advice that we have put out to Australian households on terrorism, I can only say that our advice is being very well received. The campaign being run by those opposite for people to return their material is not washing. Only a small number are being returned. But what I have been very interested to learn today is that a very large amount of extra material—more pamphlets and more information—is being sought. This is not a waste of money. Any lives saved, any terrorist attack averted or any suspicions reported which result in arrests of those who would engage in or support terrorism will have made every last red cent of it a very valuable investment indeed, and I would be very careful about prejudging it if I were the Labor Party.