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Wednesday, 16 June 2010
Page: 5685

Mr BRENDAN O’CONNOR (Minister for Home Affairs) (7:01 PM) —Given that there were about eight questions, I am not sure whether we can get through all of them. There were a few rhetorical ones thrown in—I think, about 12. In relation to the air security officers, they are funded out of the $759 million that funds the Australian Federal Police at our international airports. This is a very significant initiative and, of course, the government are doing everything it can to dedicate resources to our airports. They are areas where terrorists would like to pose threats to the community. Complementing that $759 million, I recently announced the proposed changes to criminal offences that would apply to serious hoaxes made to airports, or to our aircraft, or assaults that may be made to aircraft crew. I hope the opposition supports those proposed amendments.

In relation to the security officers themselves—the sky marshals that are flying—the program continues and there has been no cut to the funding. In relation to the numbers that are used, we and indeed the previous government have never disclosed the number of officers. For accountability purposes, I want to make it clear to the House that the reason we do not disclose the number is for security purposes, but I can assure the member for Stirling that we have maintained the program and not cut the funding.

Mr Keenan —I did not ask for that.