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Wednesday, 15 June 2011
Page: 6265

Mr McCLELLAND (BartonAttorney-General) (16:55): I thank the honourable member. For the record, the former government's initiative has unquestionably been a success and has been continued by the current government. When it comes to national security, law enforcement agencies do rely on the public to report suspicious behaviour. It is often the smallest detail that makes the biggest difference, in that it can often tie pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together. That is why the government continues to support, and raise awareness of, the National Security Hotline. This year the government has allocated $600,000 for continuation of the public information campaign about the hotline.

The government will be funding additional advertising activity via the national security public information campaign during this coming financial year and will again direct people to the number I have referred to previously today: 1800123400. The campaign will focus on metropolitan and regional radio and online advertising. It is worth noting that the Australian National Audit Office recently did a report on the National Security Hotline including on what dividend advertising of that hotline delivers. It found that advertising of the National Security Hotline leads directly to an increase in the total number of calls received and also in the number of calls that are useful to stakeholder agencies—in other words, there is a spike or an increase during those advertising campaigns.

Market research has found that, aside from television, advertising on radio and the internet are the most effective communication channels through which to reach the campaign target audience of Australians—people over 18 years of age. Although the current campaign will not include television advertising, arrangements are in place for a campaign to be launched on air at short notice should the security environment change.

The campaign has been active since 2002. The current phase of the campaign, 'Every detail helps,' highlights that it is often, as I have said, the smallest detail that makes the largest difference. The National Security Hotline statistics indicate that the campaign helps to maintain and increase the volume of information calls. Since 2002, almost 155,000 calls have been received by the hotline. And, in answer to the question from the member for Melbourne Ports, almost half of the calls have provided useful information to Australian and state law enforcement and intelligence agencies. The campaign's activities will, of course, be undertaken in accordance with the Australian government's guidelines on information and advertising. I am pleased that the campaign has attracted bipartisan support, having been endorsed by both sides of parliament—including, obviously, the initiatives of the former government. But I will conclude by commending the member for Melbourne Ports for his contribution to the national security debate and the preparations of this country.