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Tuesday, 14 June 2005
Page: 1

The SPEAKER (2:01 PM) —Members may be aware that over the last two weeks Parliament House has experienced three incidents where white powder has been found in letters delivered to the building. In all instances the substances were found to be non-hazardous. Unfortunately, parliamentary security staff have detected a further suspect package in the loading dock this morning.

As a result of the earlier incidents, mail-screening procedures have been enhanced from this morning to reduce the risk of letters containing hazardous substances entering the building. This will include the introduction of a second level of screening. The new screening procedures may delay the delivery of mail to members’ suites. However, the President and I consider this action to be necessary while we are experiencing an increase in these incidents.

Members and their staff should also be looking out for any suspicious mail and if in doubt should not open the suspect envelope. Instead, they should contact Parliament House security on telephone extension 7117, where they will be given instructions on what action to take. I regret that these measures have had to be taken, and the President and I strongly condemn the behaviour that has made this a necessity.