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Rudd outlines new security measures -

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Rudd outlines new security measures

The World Today - Thursday, 4 December , 2008 12:18:00

Reporter: Alexandra Kirk

ELEANOR HALL: The Prime Minister has announced he'll commission a new counter-terrorism white paper
in response to last week's deadly terrorist attacks in Mumbai in which two Australians were killed
and another 170 people lost their lives.

Mr Rudd has just delivered his long-awaited national security statement which he promised to make
in the lead-up to the last election.

In it he has announced the creation of a new position of national security adviser, and bolstered
his own department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to oversee both intelligence and border security.

Our reporter in Canberra, Alexandra Kirk, joins us now with more.

So Alex what's the main thrust of this national security statement?

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The Prime Minister's outlined the broad picture of Australia's strategic challenges
and responses, such as his proposal for an Asia-Pacific community by 2020, enhancing nuclear
non-proliferation, positioning Australia as a middle power and plus a robust defence policy - all
broad philosophies the Prime Minister's enunciated for some time now and all based on broadening
and deepening the plethora of bilateral relationships with countries like China, Japan, India,
Korea, New Zealand and the United States.

Mr Rudd's decided to bolster the Customs Department to become the Department of Customs and Boarder
Protection and on the continuing threat of terrorism he says that necessitates a fresh look at the
problem and this is his response, firstly on terrorism.

KEVIN RUDD: Terrorism is likely to endure as a serious ongoing threat for the foreseeable future.
Extremism leading to violence or terrorism continues to pose a direct threat to Australia and
Australian security interest.

Next year the Government will release a counter-terrorism white paper responding to the continuing
threat to Australia from terrorism and where appropriate make adjustments to our counter-terrorism
policy arrangements. This will include our bilateral arrangements and capacity-building activities
with regional countries.

Effective mitigation of terrorist attacks involves the combination of an appropriate security
response with broader strategies to enhance social cohesion and resilience and lessen the appeal of
radical ideology.

The Government is committed to ensuring that our agencies are resourced appropriately to meet the
challenges of terrorist threats and we'll continue to work with the states and territories and with
international partners to ensure that our responses are comprehensive and effective.

ELEANOR HALL: That's the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd speaking in parliament.

So Alex Kevin Rudd's announced he'll appoint Australia's first national security adviser and there
was also the pre-election idea of Labor, a new homeland security office, what has he said about
these things?

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Mr Rudd's appointing a former SAS commanding officer Duncan Lewis as his national
security adviser, this is a first. He'll advise Mr Rudd on all matters security, he'll also, he's
also the co-chair of the Government's national counter-terrorism committee, he chairs the strategic
maritime management committee and also the counter-terrorism policy committee. So you can see he is
a the top of national security advice.

Mr Rudd says that he'll make periodic statements to parliament on national security - updates if
you like - and he's re-jigging the structure of policy development.

Now he's ditched the idea of the homeland security department, he says that's too cumbersome.
Instead the Government's now looking at a recommendation of the broad Smith review to set up a
crisis coordination centre to support government decisions made during national crises. And the
Prime Minister's new national security adviser Mr Duncan Lewis will head a new high-powered
committee as he explained a short time ago.

KEVIN RUDD: This committee which the national security adviser will chair will ensure that the
national intelligence effort is fully and effectively integrated.

This will make sure that our intelligence efforts including foreign, defence security and
transnational law-enforcement intelligence are closely aligned and accord with Australia's national
security priorities.

This inaugural national security statement outlines the new approach the government is taking to
address current and future national challenges. It is intended that this become a regular statement
to the parliament of the state of Australia's national security and the new and emerging challenges
that we face.

Just as the annual Budget statement provides and annual review of the state of the economy so too
will this national security statement to the parliament provide the same opportunity for
Australia's national security circumstances and challenges.

ELEANOR HALL: And that's the Prime Minister making his national security statement in parliament
today, Alexandra Kirk our reporter.