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Security in Government Conference: opening and welcome address: National Convention Centre, Canberra.



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ATTORNEY-GENERAL THE HON PHILIP RUDDOCK MP

Security in Government Conference

Opening and Welcome Address

National Convention Centre, Canberra

10:05am, Wednesday 17 March 2004

CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY

[ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS]

1. FIRSTLY, MAY I ACKNOWLEDGE THE

TRADITIONAL OWNERS OF THE LAND, THE

NGUNNAWAL PEOPLE, AND PAY MY RESPECT TO

THEIR ELDERS, BOTH PAST AND PRESENT.

[OTHER ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS]

• ED TYRIE, DIRECTOR, PROTECTIVE SECURITY

COORDINATION CENTRE.

• ALL SECURITY ADVISERS AND OFFICIALS WHO

MAKE SUCH AN IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTION TO

GOVERNMENT SECURITY.

[INTRODUCTION]

2. ‘STRIKING THE RIGHT BALANCE’ IS A VERY

APPROPRIATE THEME FOR THIS YEAR’S SECURITY

IN GOVERNMENT CONFERENCE.

3. SINCE THE ATTACKS OF SEPTEMBER 11… THE

BALI BOMBINGS… AND LAST WEEK - THE TRAGIC

BOMBINGS IN THE SPANISH RAILWAY SYSTEM - IT

SEEMS THAT THE ENTIRE WORLD HAS BEEN

WAGING A RELENTLESS - AND AT TIMES - ALL-CONSUMING - WAR AGAINST TERRORISM.

4. FOR AUSTRALIA, THIS WAR HAS FOCUSSED ON

PROTECTING OURSELVES FROM ATTACK.

IT HAS FOCUSSED ON MAINTAINING THE

INTEGRITY OF OUR BORDERS.

IT HAS FOCUSSED ON PROTECTING OUR

NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY.

PERHAPS MOST IMPORTANTLY, IT HAS FOCUSSED

ON PRESERVING THE BASIC IDEALS, VALUES AND

BELIEFS THAT MAKE US SUCH A FREE, OPEN AND

TOLERANT SOCIETY.

5. AS MY COUNTERPART IN CANADA HAS

OBSERVED - ALONG WITH THE BRITISH HOME

SECRETARY, DAVID BLUNKETT:

THE UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

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Security in Government Conference Attorney-General Philip Ruddock 17 March, 2004

RECOGNISES THAT THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL

HUMAN RIGHTS ARE THOSE OF LIFE, LIBERTY AND

SECURITY OF PERSON.

6. TERRORISTS THREATEN THOSE MOST BASIC

RIGHTS.

7. PROTECTING OURSELVES FROM TERRORISM IS A

TASK THIS GOVERNMENT TAKES VERY

SERIOUSLY.

BUT IN THE PROCESS, WE MUST BE CAREFUL NOT

TO FALL INTO THE TRAP OF TURNING OUR

COMMUNITY INTO AN IMPREGNABLE AND

UNINHABITABLE FORTRESS.

8. WE MUST ALSO RESPOND IN A WAY THAT DOES

NOT COST US THE VERY FREEDOMS, LIBERTIES

AND LIFESTYLE THAT WE ARE SEEKING TO

PROTECT.

9. THE BRITISH LORD CHIEF JUSTICE OBSERVED

THIS IN A SPEECH TO THE BRITISH ACADEMY IN

OCTOBER 2002 WHEN NOTING THE PRESSURES OF

TERRORISM.

10. HE SAID:

”THESE PRESSURES WILL TEST THE HUMAN RIGHTS

ACT. BUT THE HUMAN RIGHTS ACT IS NOT A

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Security in Government Conference Attorney-General Philip Ruddock 17 March, 2004

SUICIDE PACT! IT DOES NOT REQUIRE THIS

COUNTRY TO TIE ITS HANDS BEHIND ITS BACK….”

11. STRIKING THE RIGHT BALANCE IS A DIFFICULT

TASK.

[NEW SECURITY ENVIRONMENT]

12. THE IMPLICATIONS OF TERRORISM HAVE BEEN

PROFOUND AND IMMENSE.

I WANT TO MAKE A FEW BRIEF POINTS ABOUT

THE NEW SECURITY ENVIRONMENT IMPOSED

UPON US BY THE EVENTS OF SEPTEMBER 11 AND

BALI.

13. FIRSTLY - THE TERRORISTS ARE NOTHING MORE

THAN FANATICAL EXTREMISTS.

MANY ARE TRYING TO CORRUPT ISLAM TO SUIT

THEIR OWN POLITICAL GOALS.

THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY MUST EXPOSE

THESE MILITANT GROUPS FOR WHAT THEY ARE.

AND WE MUST WORK WITH MAINSTREAM

MUSLIMS TO ENSURE THEIR RELIGION IS NOT

HIJACKED BY A RADICAL FRINGE ELEMENT.

14. SECONDLY - THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT

WILL NEVER GIVE IN TO TERRORISM.

OUR DUTY IS TO REPEL THE TERRORIST THREAT

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AND WE WILL TAKE WHATEVER MEASURES ARE

JUSTIFIED.

15. FINALLY, AUSTRALIA’S ALLIANCE WITH THE

UNITED STATES IS SOMETHING WE VALUE

HIGHLY.

WE ARE PROUD TO STAND ALONGSIDE THE US IN

THE WAR AGAINST TERROR.

AUSTRALIANS HAVE NEVER SHIED AWAY FROM

ADVERSITY.

AND WE ARE NOT ABOUT TO STAND BACK AND

ASK OTHERS TO MAKE SACRIFICES ON OUR

BEHALF NOW.

[GOVERNMENT INITIATIVES TO FIGHT

TERRORISM]

16. THE GOVERNMENT’S RESPONSE TO TERRORISM

HAS BEEN STRONG AND DECISIVE - AND BY

NECESSITY IS HAS BEEN QUITE EXTENSIVE.

17. THE LAST THING WE WANT TO DO IS

COMPROMISE NATIONAL SECURITY OR PUBLIC

SAFETY BY NOT PUTTING FULL AND WIDE

RANGING MEASURES IN PLACE.

18. OF COURSE, PROTECTING OURSELVES AGAINST

TERRORISM IS AN ONGOING RESPONSIBILITY. Page 5 of 17

Security in Government Conference Attorney-General Philip Ruddock 17 March, 2004

IT REQUIRES CONSTANT VIGILANCE.

IT REQUIRES AN ONGOING RE-ASSESSMENT OF

THE SECURITY ENVIRONMENT.

AND IT DEMANDS A WILLINGNESS TO INTRODUCE

NEW MEASURES WHEN THEY ARE REQUIRED.

19. I CAN ASSURE YOU THAT THIS GOVERNMENT

WILL NEVER BECOME COMPLACENT.

[SECURITY MEASURES]

20. SINCE SEPTEMBER 11 AND BALI, MORE THAN 100

MEASURES HAVE BEEN IMPLEMENTED AND MORE

THAN $2 BILLION HAS BEEN COMMITTED TO THE

WAR AGAINST TERROR.

21. IT WOULD TAKE THE ENTIRE CONFERENCE FOR

ME TO GO THROUGH EVERY MEASURE.

BUT SOME OF THE MAJOR RECENT INITIATIVES

ARE WORTHY OF MENTION.

22. ESSENTIALLY WE HAVE FOCUSSED ON THREE

BROAD FRONTS.

O WE HAVE LEGISLATED FOR BETTER AND

STRONGER LAWS.

O WE HAVE GIVEN OUR SECURITY AGENCIES THE

POWERS THEY NEED TO FIGHT TERRORISM.

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Security in Government Conference Attorney-General Philip Ruddock 17 March, 2004

O AND WE HAVE BEEN WORKING WITH THE

INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO FIGHT

TERRORISM IN THE REGION AND AROUND THE

WORLD.

[BETTER LAWS]

23. THE BEST WAY TO BEAT TERRORISM IS TO HAVE

THE LAWS IN PLACE TO HELP CATCH THE

TERRORISTS BEFORE THEY HAVE A CHANCE TO

ACT.

24. THE GOVERNMENT HAS INTRODUCED LAWS TO

MAKE IT A CRIME TO COMMIT, TRAIN OR

PREPARE FOR A TERRORIST ACT.

WE HAVE MADE IT ILLEGAL TO BE A MEMBER OF,

OR SUPPORT, A TERRORIST ORGANISATION.

THE PARLIAMENT RECENTLY PASSED

LEGISLATION TO ENABLE US TO LIST TERRORIST

ORGANISATIONS BASED ON OUR NATIONAL

INTEREST AND SECURITY NEEDS AND THE

ADVICE OF OUR INTELLIGENCE ORGANISATIONS.

THIS MEANS WE WILL NO LONGER HAVE TO RELY

ON THE UNITED NATIONS TO LIST AN

ORGANISATION BEFORE WE DO SO.

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Security in Government Conference Attorney-General Philip Ruddock 17 March, 2004

25. OTHER LAWS DENY TERRORISTS ACCESS TO

FUNDS, IMPROVE BORDER SECURITY AND CRACK

DOWN ON MAIL HOAXES.

26. AS HAS BEEN REPORTED RECENTLY, THE

GOVERNMENT IS CONSIDERING OTHER

MEASURES:

- AMENDING THE FOREIGN INCURSIONS ACT;

- PROTECTING SENSITIVE INFORMATION; AND

- EXAMINING WHETHER WE MAKE CONSORTING

WITH TERRORISTS AN OFFENCE.

CONSORTING WITH CRIMINALS IS AN OFFENCE

UNDER SEVERAL STATE LAWS, SO THERE IS A

LOGICAL CONNECTION IN EXTENDING THIS IN

THE CONTEXT OF TERRORISM.

[STRONGER AGENCIES]

27. THE GOVERNMENT HAS ALSO BEEN DETERMINED

TO ENSURE OUR SECURITY AGENCIES HAVE THE

AUTHORITY TO DO THEIR WORK PROPERLY.

28. ASIO’S POWERS HAVE BEEN ENHANCED TO HELP

IT QUESTION, AND WHERE NECESSARY, DETAIN

PERSONS INVOLVED IN, OR WHO MAY HAVE

INFORMATION ABOUT, A TERRORIST ATTACK.

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Security in Government Conference Attorney-General Philip Ruddock 17 March, 2004

29. IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE STATES AND

TERRITORIES, THE AFP HAS ESTABLISHED JOINT

COUNTER-TERRORISM STRIKE TEAMS.

30. OUR DEFENCE FORCES HAVE FORMED A SECOND

TACTICAL ASSAULT GROUP.

THIS WILL GIVE US THE CAPACITY TO RESPOND

TO TERRORIST INCIDENTS ON THE EAST COAST.

31. GIVEN THE INCREASED DANGER OF A CHEMICAL,

BIOLOGICAL, RADIOLOGICAL OR NUCLEAR

ATTACK, ADDITIONAL RESOURCES HAVE ALSO

BEEN PROVIDED TO ESTABLISH AN INCIDENT

RESPONSE REGIMENT.

THIS REGIMENT WILL BE HIGHLY TRAINED AND

HAS BEEN PROVIDED WITH DECONTAMINATION

UNITS AND OTHER SPECIALISED EQUIPMENT TO

DEAL WITH SUCH A SITUATION.

[INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION]

32. NO MATTER HOW MUCH WE DO AT HOME -

TERRORISM CAN ONLY BE COMBATED BY A

CONCERTED AND COORDINATED

INTERNATIONAL EFFORT.

33. AUSTRALIA IS SIGNATORY TO 11 OF THE 12

INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS AND PROTOCOLS

RELATING TO TERRORISM.

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Security in Government Conference Attorney-General Philip Ruddock 17 March, 2004

34. WE ARE WORKING WITH COUNTRIES IN OUR

REGION TO RAISE THE OVERALL LEVEL OF

COOPERATION AND UNDERSTANDING OF

SECURITY ISSUES.

- LAST MONTH, WE CO-HOSTED WITH INDONESIA,

A REGIONAL MINISTERIAL MEETING ON

COUNTER-TERRORISM.

[NATIONAL COUNTER-TERRORISM

ARRANGEMENTS]

35. ALL OF THE COUNTER-TERRORISM INITIATIVES

THE GOVERNMENT HAS PUT IN PLACE ARE

USELESS, UNLESS SUPPORTED AT THE GROUND

LEVEL BY THE RIGHT PROCEDURES AND

PRACTICES.

36. TO ACHIEVE THE REQUIRED LEVEL OF SUPPORT,

THE GOVERNMENT RELIES HEAVILY ON THE

ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPARTMENT AND

SPECIALIST AGENCIES SUCH AS THE PROTECTIVE

SECURITY COORDINATION CENTRE (PSCC) AND

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AUSTRALIA (EMA).

37. THROUGH THE NATIONAL COUNTER-TERRORISM

COMMITTEE, THE PSCC COORDINATES OUR

TERRORISM ARRANGEMENTS AT THE

OPERATIONAL LEVEL.

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Security in Government Conference Attorney-General Philip Ruddock 17 March, 2004

38. THE NATURE OF THESE ARRANGEMENTS ARE

OUTLINED IN THE NATIONAL COUNTER-TERRORISM PLAN.

THE PLAN PROVIDES A FRAMEWORK TO ENSURE

THERE IS COOPERATION AND COORDINATION

BETWEEN ALL AGENCIES AND ALL LEVELS OF

GOVERNMENT.

39. EMA HAS AN INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT ROLE IN

COORDINATING THIS NATIONAL APPROACH.

40. AS A SIGN OF PREPAREDNESS, IT HAS JUST

ORDERED $18 MILLION WORTH OF EQUIPMENT

WHICH HAS BEEN STRATEGICALLY PLACED

AROUND AUSTRALIA.

41. TERRORISTS DO NOT CARE ABOUT STATE OR

POLITICAL PAROCHIALISMS - AND NEITHER CAN

WE.

42. THE ARRANGEMENTS ARE EXTENSIVE, WELL

THOUGHT OUT AND APPROPRIATE FOR THE

SITUATION WE ARE IN.

THERE ARE SOME WHO SUGGEST WE NEED TO

MERGE AGENCIES OR TO CREATE A WHOLE NEW

BUREAUCRACY.

CHANGE FOR CHANGE’S SAKE IS NOT SOMETHING

I ADVOCATE.

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Security in Government Conference Attorney-General Philip Ruddock 17 March, 2004

43. THE STRUCTURES NEED TO REFLECT OUR

CIRCUMSTANCES.

44. INTERESTINGLY, THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT

CONSIDERED - AND REJECTED - PROPOSALS FOR A

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY.

45. THE LABOUR PARTY HOME SECRETARY TOLD

THE HOUSE OF COMMONS IN NOVEMBER 2002

THAT A HOMELAND SECURITY FACILITY: “is way

beyond anything that we in this country could contemplate

without completely dislocating not only our government

procedures but the investment that we need in key services

that secure the kind of lifestyle, economy and services that

make this country worth living in…”

46. HIS VIEWS WERE SUPPORTED BY THE HOUSE OF

COMMONS SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

COMMITTEE.

47. GIVEN THE EFFECTIVE AND COMPREHENSIVE

NATURE OF THE ARRANGEMENTS AUSTRALIA

HAS IN PLACE - IT WOULD BE CREATING A

VULNERABILITY TO EMBARK ON A WHOLESALE

RESTRUCTURING PROCESS.

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Security in Government Conference Attorney-General Philip Ruddock 17 March, 2004

[MULTI-JURISDICTIONAL EXERCISE]

48. IT IS PERHAPS APPROPRIATE THAT IN JUST A FEW

DAYS THAT LEVEL OF COORDINATION AND

PREPAREDNESS FOR A TERRORIST INCIDENT WILL

BE TESTED IN A VERY REAL AND PRACTICAL

WAY.

49. MERCURY 04, IS AUSTRALIA’S FIRST MULTI-JURISDICTIONAL COUNTER-TERRORISM EXERCISE

AND WILL INVOLVE TASMANIA, VICTORIA,

SOUTH AUSTRALIA, NORTHERN TERRITORY AND

AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT AGENCIES.

50. THE EXERCISE WILL TEST THE CAPACITY AND

CAPABILITIES OF PRACTICALLY EVERY AGENCY

THAT WOULD HAVE A ROLE TO PLAY IN DEALING

WITH A REAL-LIFE INCIDENT.

[AGENCY SECURITY ADVISERS]

51. MAKING OUR COUNTER-TERRORISM PLANS

WORK AND KEEPING AUSTRALIA SAFE AND

SECURE AT THE OPERATIONAL LEVEL IS

SOMETHING MANY OF YOU ARE DIRECTLY

RESPONSIBLE FOR.

52. AS AGENCY SECURITY ADVISERS YOU HAVE A

CRITICAL ROLE TO PLAY IN THE SECURITY

STRATEGIES AND POLICIES THAT YOUR Page 13 of 17

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ORGANISATIONS HAVE IN PLACE.

IT IS HERE THAT THE REVISED PROTECTIVE

SECURITY MANUAL, WHICH I RECENTLY

APPROVED, WILL PROVIDE YOU WITH AN

INVALUABLE GUIDE.

53. THE WORK YOU DO FEEDS INTO THE BROADER

NATIONAL SECURITY PLANS AND ULTIMATELY IT

AFFECTS OUR READINESS FOR AN ATTACK.

54. AT THE BROAD NATIONAL SECURITY LEVEL - WE

MUST ERR ON THE SIDE OF CAUTION.

55. BUT AT THE AGENCY AND DAY-TO-DAY LEVEL

THERE ARE MANY MORE DETAILED JUDGEMENT

CALLS THAT NEED TO BE MADE.

56. THE DECISIONS YOU MAKE DETERMINE THE

BALANCE WE STRIKE BETWEEN SECURITY AND

QUALITY OF LIFE.

IT IS YOUR JUDGEMENT AND EXPERTISE THAT WE

DEPEND ON.

YOU UNDERSTAND THE DAY-TO-DAY

IMPERATIVES OF GOVERNMENT SECURITY AT

THE OPERATIONAL LEVEL.

YOU KNOW WHAT IS NECESSARY AND WHAT IS

EXCESSIVE.

AND YOU KNOW HOW WE CAN CREATE A SAFE

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ENVIRONMENT WITHOUT IMPINGING ON OTHER

ORGANISATIONAL GOALS.

[SECURITY AS A PRIORITY]

57. GOOD SECURITY PRACTICES CONTRIBUTE TO THE

ACHIEVEMENT OF ORGANISATIONAL GOALS.

THEY ARE NOW AT THE FOREFRONT OF THE WAR

AGAINST TERROR.

THEY HELP US TO STRIKE THE RIGHT BALANCE

BETWEEN SAFETY AND THE QUALITY OF DAILY

LIFE.

58. BUT THE REALITY IS THAT ALL THE ADVICE YOU

PROVIDE COUNTS FOR NOTHING UNLESS IT IS

TAKEN ON BOARD BY SENIOR MANAGEMENT.

59. C.E.OS NEED TO EMBRACE SECURITY.

THEY NEED TO SEND OUT A CLEAR MESSAGE

THAT SECURITY IS IMPORTANT.

60. SECURITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY OF THE PUBLIC

SECTOR IS NOW MUCH MORE FORENSIC THAN

EVER BEFORE.

IF SECURITY CONSIDERATIONS ARE NOT BEING

TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT AND IF SECURITY ADVICE

IS BEING IGNORED - MANAGEMENT AND

ORGANISATIONS WILL FIND THEY HAVE LITTLE

SYMPATHY OR SUPPORT.

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Security in Government Conference Attorney-General Philip Ruddock 17 March, 2004

[CONCLUSION]

61. AUSTRALIANS WANT TO BE SAFE AND SECURE.

WE WANT TO LIVE FREELY AND OPENLY.

AND WE WANT TO WIN THE WAR AGAINST

TERRORISM.

62. BUT THESE THINGS DO NOT COME WITHOUT A

COST.

63. TO PROTECT OUR FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS

AND TO PROTECT OUR WAY OF LIFE, SACRIFICES

MUST BE MADE.

64. THE CHALLENGE WE FACE IS TO ENSURE THAT

THE COST OF THE SECURITY MEASURES IS NOT

EXCESSIVE OR UNJUSTIFIABLE.

65. THIS IS A DIFFICULT BALANCE TO STRIKE.

IT REQUIRES AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE EVER

CHANGING SECURITY ENVIRONMENT.

IT REQUIRES AN ABILITY TO ASSESS AND

MANAGE RISK.

66. FOR ITS PART, THE GOVERNMENT WILL ALWAYS

DO WHATEVER IS APPROPRIATE TO PROTECT OUR

NATIONAL SECURITY.

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Security in Government Conference Attorney-General Philip Ruddock 17 March, 2004

67. I DO NOT WANT TO BE THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL

WHO HAS TO EXPLAIN TO GRIEVING FAMILIES

THAT I DID NOT DO AS MUCH AS I COULD.

68. AS AGENCY SECURITY ADVISERS YOU MAKE AN

ENORMOUS CONTRIBUTION TO SECURITY AT AN

OPERATIONAL LEVEL.

THE WORK YOU DO AND THE DECISIONS YOU

MAKE AFFECT THE LIVES OF MANY PEOPLE.

YOU HAVE A DUTY TO ENSURE GOVERNMENT

OPERATIONS ARE SECURE.

AT THE SAME TIME YOU MUST ENSURE THAT

PEOPLE CAN GO ABOUT THEIR BUSINESS

WITHOUT UNNECESSARY RESTRICTION.

69. I WISH YOU WELL IN YOUR ENDEAVOURS.

BY WORKING TOGETHER I AM CONFIDENT WE

CAN RESPOND TO THE TERRORIST THREAT

WHILST PRESERVING THE AUSTRALIAN WAY OF

LIFE.

IT IS A PLEASURE TO WELCOME YOU TO THE 2004

SECURITY IN GOVERNMENT CONFERENCE.

(ENDS)