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Wednesday, 10 September 2003
Page: 19694


Mr MARTIN FERGUSON (2:36 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Transport and Regional Services and it concerns the government's open door policy on aviation and maritime security, as revealed in the media today. When was the minister first made aware that security in the Transport Security Division of his own department, which is responsible for the safety of more than 50 million passenger movements each year, was seriously violated? Can the minister confirm that the building from where the laptop was stolen has neither internal nor external 24-hour security video surveillance and, as a result of the government's outsourcing policy, is accessed on a regular basis by non-government, casual and temporary staff? What is the minister doing to end this open door policy on security in the department?


Mr ANDERSON (Minister for Transport and Regional Services) —I thank the honourable member for Batman for his question. I would like to take the opportunity to reveal to the House some details about the incident to which he referred.


Mr Crean —That is a welcome development.


Mr ANDERSON —Yes, it was such a frightful cover-up that it was reported immediately to the police, who are investigating it right now and have been since it happened.


The SPEAKER —The Deputy Prime Minister will address his remarks through the chair.

Opposition members interjecting


The SPEAKER —The member for Hasluck. The Deputy Prime Minister has the call and will be heard in silence.


Mr ANDERSON —In the early morning—

Opposition members interjecting


Mr ANDERSON —Mr Speaker, if this is a serious matter, I would like to address the House on it.


The SPEAKER —I have invited the Deputy Prime Minister to address his remarks through the chair.


Mr ANDERSON —I would appreciate the chance to be able to put the answer over, because there might actually be people who would like to know the answer. We purport to take security seriously. Give me the opportunity to explain what really happened and to then come to the wildly exaggerated claims of the member opposite, who only recently in this place gave a lecture about raising false concerns.

Opposition members interjecting


Mr ANDERSON —Mr Speaker, is the matter raised by the opposition serious or is it not? We will wait and see.