Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts. These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
PM announces defence base security review -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

ELEANOR HALL: The Federal Opposition is calling on the Government to immediately ensure that armed
guards replace the unarmed private security contractors at the gates of the Holsworthy Barracks in

Police say the barracks was the target of the alleged suicide plot.

And while the Prime Minister says he's satisfied the arrangements at the Barracks were adequate, he
has announced a review into security at military bases across the country.

Barbara Miller has our report.

BARBARA MILLER: Had the alleged terrorist plot ever come to fruition at Holsworthy Barracks, the
attackers would have first faced a couple of unarmed security contractors at the gate. As at most
defence bases around the country these days, frontline security at Holsworthy is carried out by
private unarmed guards.

That fact has alarmed Bob Baldwin the Coalition's spokesman for defence personnel.

BOB BALDWIN: Had there not been the pickup of the initial phone call, had this whole threat
scenario not been picked up, how adequate would it have been with unarmed security guards facing
those with automatic machine guns going on a massacre spree?

BARBARA MILLER: But the Prime Minister says he's satisfied there wasn't a problem.

KEVIN RUDD: The advice I received was that, from the Chief of Defence Force, was that based on our
current knowledge, that the security arrangements are adequate.

BARBARA MILLER: Speaking on AM, Kevin Rudd said however that security would be looked into.

KEVIN RUDD: I have requested that the CDF and the Defence Department undertake an immediate and
comprehensive review of adequacy, given these new developments.

BARBARA MILLER: Mr Rudd says the review will look into the issue of private security guards. The
Coalition defence personnel spokesman Bob Baldwin says that's not enough.

BOB BALDWIN: What is needed is to immediately put into place armed security guards, defence
security guards, then do the downstream investigation, you can always wind back the level of
protection, but it's pretty hard to put it in after the fact.

What we need to do is make sure that we protect the men and women in Australia who protect our

BARBARA MILLER: Wouldn't that however be a knee-jerk reaction?

BOB BALDWIN: No I see that as a proactive and preventative measure that in the face of any further
investigation enquiry, that if it's deemed that it is no longer required because the threat
assessment has reduced then it can be wound back.

I would rather be erring on the side of preventative, rather than reactionary after the event.

BARBARA MILLER: Where do you draw the line though when you start erring on the side of caution? I
mean there are many other facilities around the country that one could technically place under
armed guard.

BOB BALDWIN: Well I'm saying that all of our defence bases after the report that came out, that it
wasn't only Holsworthy that was under consideration from these terrorists, that all bases should
return to having defence personnel, armed defence personnel, manning the security bases. Now is the
time for decisive action.

BARBARA MILLER: But Neil James the executive director of the Australia Defence Association is
angered by the focus on security at the Barracks' front gate. He says it's important to consider
the system as a whole.

NEIL JAMES: You know, just worrying excessively about the guard at the front gate doesn't
adequately address the total system of security involved. I mean there are layers of security that
people don't see, and what happened with the plot detected in Melbourne, is the outer layer of that

And that's the work of the intelligence agencies and the police work in thwarting the plot at an
early stage. You just can't look at the front gate in isolation of the system it's in.

BARBARA MILLER: But can't we assume that at some point that first layer may be broken?

NEIL JAMES: Well that's the whole idea of having a layered system, you work on the assumption that
if any one layer is broken, another layer will pick it up. You know, even if you arm the contract
security guards on the front gate, you can't guarantee of course that they'd be armed well enough
or there'd be enough of them to defeat, you know, a determined armed intrusion for example.

BARBARA MILLER: Do you welcome a review though, as announced by the Prime Minister?

NEIL JAMES: Look we welcome the review, but the Defence Association knows that the security
measures and defence bases are audited regularly, and they change according to the threat. So we've
got full confidence that the Department of Defence knows how to secure its own installations.

BARBARA MILLER: You don't think that today people will be talking about this and wondering if
they're adequately secure?

NEIL JAMES: Well people are talking about this, but I've got to tell you, we've yet to receive
anyone, communication from anyone who's really deeply concerned about this, and the reaction at
Holsworthy by most diggers was - well bring it on.

BARBARA MILLER: Arrangements for carrying out the review announced by the Prime Minister are
already underway. A report by the Defence Department is expected back later this month.

ELEANOR HALL: Barbara Miller.