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Keelty says climate change the biggest threat -

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TONY JONES: Terrorism is not the greatest threat to Australia's national security according to the
head of the Federal Police. Mick Keelty says climate change is a greater threat. He's the first
senior Australian official to link the two issues directly.

The ABC's national security correspondent Leigh Sales reports.

LEIGH SALES: Mick Keelty has elevated climate change to a top-tier national security issue, anxious
it could create a future refugee crisis.

MICK KEELTY, AFP COMMISSIONER: If only some and not all of this occurs, climate change is going to
be the security issue of the 21st century.

LEIGH SALES: Four months ago the commissioner organised a briefing for senior Federal Police on
global warming and he's had a long standing interest in the issue.

MICK KEELTY: The potential security issues are enormous and should not be underestimated.

LEIGH SALES: The Police Commissioner's views are in line with a recent report by top former
American military officials. And the US Congress has ordered American spy agencies to investigate
the impact of climate change on national security.

Mick Keelty is the first top Australian official to raise the issue so strongly. The head of ASIO,
Paul O'Sullivan, hasn't mentioned climate change in any speech he's given this year, instead
keeping terrorism as the top focus. That's still the Government's major security priority with
climate change largely discussed as an environmental and economic challenge.

JOHN HOWARD, PRIME MINISTER: I've read something of his speech, I haven't examined it in detail and
I won't comment.

KEVIN RUDD, OPPOSITION LEADER: What Commissioner Keelty is doing is sounding the alarm bell about
what the future holds unless we act.

LEIGH SALES: Australia's Foreign Minister is at the United Nations discussing climate change, with
members trying to find a way forward together.

BAN KI-MOON: I'm convinced that climate change and what we do about it will define us, our era, and
ultimately the global legacy we leave for future generations.

LEIGH SALES: This UN meeting aims to build momentum ahead of talks scheduled for Bali in December
to come up with a new international agreement on climate change. Leigh Sales, Lateline.