Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 20 March 2017
Page: 1307

Senator ROBERTS (Queensland) (10:21): As a servant to the people of Queensland and Australia, I rise to speak in support of the Transport Security Legislation Amendment Bill 2016. This bill will amend the Aviation Transport Security Act 2004 to allow people, vehicles and goods to undergo aviation security screening within an area or zone at a security controlled airport. The bill will also amend the Aviation Act and the Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Act 2003 to allow the secretary of the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development to delegate his powers in the acts to more junior Australian Public Service employees.

The declared purpose of the aviation and maritime acts is to safeguard against unlawful interference with aviation, maritime transport and offshore oil and gas facilities. This bill seeks to introduce measures at Australia's major international airports and ports to mitigate what is known as 'the insider threat'. Airport workers such as baggage handlers, caterers, cleaners and engineers have special access to passenger aircraft so they can carry out their important and valuable roles. However, there is potential for this access to be exploited, either willingly or through coercion, to facilitate an attack against a passenger aircraft and its passengers and crew.

The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, in consultation with the aviation industry, has developed a new model for strengthening airside security at Australia's nine major international airports to address the insider threat and to ensure Australia meets its international civil aviation obligations for airside security. These measures, introduced through the bill, are part of a broader suite of regulatory amendments that give effect to the models three components: controls to ensure people, vehicles and goods entering airside areas at Australia's major international airports are authorised to do so; screening of people, vehicles and accompanying goods entering and within the airside areas of the major international airports to detect unauthorised weapons and explosives; and security awareness training for airport and airline employees, including contractors who regularly work within airside areas at the major international airports.

The bill will introduce regulation making powers into the Aviation Act that will enable people, vehicles and goods to be selected for security screening when they are inside an airside area or zone at security controlled airports. This complements existing provisions in the act that provide regulation making powers for the screening of people, vehicles and goods before they enter an airside security area or zone.

The underlying aim of this bill is sound in that it strengthens security measures regarding airport workers, a surprising number of whom are Muslims or other recently arrived immigrants. However, absurdly, this bill subordinates itself to political correctness by refusing to target profiled high-threat groups for screening, and instead boasts:

All people have the right to be treated equally. In keeping with Australia’s egalitarian screening regime applied to aviation passengers, selection of airport and airline workers, visitors and contractors for screening inside the security restricted areas (SRAs) of airports will be conducted on a purely random basis. Individuals will not be selected according to their race, religion, gender, or any other personal characteristic.

Note that screening is to be conducted not in accordance with the threat advice of the Australian Federal Police and ASIO but on a non-discriminatory basis. According to the government, it seems that being non-discriminatory is more important than complying with the advice of our security and intelligence agencies, more important than saving Australian lives. In other words, according to the government a law abiding Christian Aussie from Toowoomba is considered equally likely to be an airport security threat as the killer of Curtis Chang on the streets of Sydney or the Lindt Cafe killer Man Monis.

The fact is that the only way police or security services solve crimes is by targeting individuals with the most likely threat profiles as a first step. Given that screening resources are limited, preventing security screening on the basis of threat groups necessarily means that resources will be spread too thinly and some dangerous elements are likely to be missed. In other words, genuflecting to the politically correct nonsense that airport security screening must be carried out in a non-discriminatory way actually weakens our ability to identify threats to aircraft security. Given that this will mean that some potential threats to our air security will be missed, political correctness risks the lives of Australian travellers.

In the interests of our air travel safety and that of our children, I implore the government to stand up against political correctness and allow prioritisation of screening of those profiled as members of threat groups such as Islamists, particularly those born overseas. Political correctness does not unite; it separates, disrespects and devalues. Accordingly, I foreshadow that I will be moving an amendment to remove this politically correct limitation from the bill and allow our security services to use their finite resources to target individuals profiled as members of high-threat groups such as Islamist immigrants from the Middle East.

The effect of these proposed amendments will be to remove the requirements in the Aviation Transport Security Regulations 2005 for security screening to be conducted randomly and to then amend the Aviation Transport Security Act 2004 to require that screening of individuals be conducted prioritising individuals profiled as members of high-threat groups in accordance with the advice of the AFP and ASIO. One Nation's sensible and highly necessary amendments will allow our airport security personnel to focus their finite resources on the groups of greatest threat, in accordance with the advice of the Australian Federal Police and ASIO, leading to greatly enhanced security and safety for all law abiding Australians.

The fact is that current airport security laws and regulations suffer from divided aims. They try to provide for effective screening, but this aim is compromised by their efforts to also avoid offending vocal minorities. However, if we want to do everything possible to protect Australian families travelling by air, we need to have a single, clear objective untrammelled by fashionable left-wing deference to other political and control objectives.

The fact is that, however much some here may try to duck and weave, run and hide or try to obfuscate the real issue, politicians who support the politically correct goal of nondiscrimination over the safety of our airports are failing to protect Australian families from terrorists. Let us be clear: only Pauline Hanson's One Nation stands uncompromisingly for doing whatever is necessary to safeguard our families. Only One Nation has the guts to say the things that need to be said and to do the things that need to be done. These amendments are an important part of that commitment from us. Of course, I can see across the chamber increasingly red-faced Greens, on a daily basis already starting to fulminate with confected rage that anyone should dare to question their politically correct shibboleths. But let me be clear: Pauline Hanson's One Nation does not question the Greens' sacred politically correct beliefs at all; we refute them utterly. The very idea that anyone would rather risk the safety and security of Australians than admit that their absurdly naive, rose-tinted vision of the world is a child's fantasy is simply offensive. Actually, it is offensively stupid.

Then of course, there are those who do not actually believe in the Greens' 'kumbaya' nonsense but fear the raised voices and clenched fists of their rent-a-crowd supporter mob and their leftist media allies. Such people know that compromising our security is simply wrong, but they lack the courage to tell the truth for fear that the political correctness lynch mob will come for them. To those senators, for whom folding like umbrellas in the face of every squawking minority has become a way of life, we urge you to take the next evolutionary step and join the ranks of the vertebrates. Carpe diem. The time has come for all of us in this country to stand up against the politically correct nonsense that currently hamstrings our security procedures at all airports.