Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Howard Government Failing to Protect Australians.



Download PDFDownload PDF

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

STATEMENT BY THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION THE HON SIMON CREAN MP

Howard Government Failing to Protect Australians

Labor is deeply concerned about reported links between a top Al Qaeda operative in Spain and two individuals in Australia.

Even more concerning is the Howard Government’s failure to gain early access to Abu Dahdah, despite the fact that Spain was another member of the Coalition of the Willing.

This failure is denying Australia the chance to gain information about possible links between Al Qaeda in Europe and Australia that could be potentially crucial to our fight against terrorism.

This comes in the same week it was revealed the government couldn’t even do something as simple as get a terrorism hotline listed in the phone book.

Labor has given the government some of the toughest anti-terrorism laws in the world, including harsh jail penalties for people who associate with, help train, or support international terrorist organisations.

Just watching terrorists is not good enough. If the government has any evidence that there are people with links to Al Qaeda or other terrorist organisations in Australia then they must act to bring them to justice.

As we approach the second anniversary of September 11, there is little evidence that the government is taking sufficient steps to protect Australia.

Airport security still remains inadequate.

• Important regional airports, like Burnie, still have no airport screening.

• Airside personnel and freight going into the hulls of planes and are not adequately screened.

• The Howard Government still hasn’t concluded arrangements to allow Sky Marshalls on key international routes, including the United States.

This is despite the fact that the Howard Government has over-collected millions of dollars on the Ansett ticket tax which should now be used to make air travel safer.

Yet again, the Howard Government is quick to highlight the threat of terrorism, but is failing the national security test to protect all Australians.

MELBOURNE 4 SEPTEMBER 2003