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Tuesday, 1 October 1974
Page: 1571

Senator Mulvihill asked the Minister representing the Minister for Transport, upon notice:

(   1 ) ls the Minister aware of the proliferation of private security guards at major Australian airports.

(2)   Is the Minister also aware that some international airlines import guards from their home countries.

(3)   Does Australia lack sufficient State and Commonwealth police for law enforcement duties at airports, if so, has the Minister spoken to the Attorney-General and the State Premiers in an endeavour to overcome this deficiency.

Senator Cavanagh - The Minister for Transport has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1)   The number of private security guards at Australian airports has steadily increased since aviation security checks were introduced in April 1973. Airline traffic officers employed by the domestic airlines, although initially undertaking the security checks on behalf of their companies, later refused to continue such checks and the airlines had to find alternative means to ensure that the necessary aviation security checks of passengers were carried out. The guards are employed by the domestic and international airlines to conduct searches of passengers, and their carry-on baggage prior to the passengers boarding aircraft at our major airports.

(2)   Yes. Australian Government policy is that the airlines are responsible for the security of their aircraft, aviation facilities under their control and the areas allocated for their use at airports. This policy covers the checking of passengers and their carry-on baggage. It is for the airline to decide the way in which these checks should bc conducted.

(3)   Australia does not lack sufficient State and Commonwealth Police for law enforcement duties at airports, either on site or readily available on call. An approach to the Attorney-General for more Commonwealth Police to be made available to stand by while aviation security searches were being undertaken at major airports was favourably received and is being implemented by the Commonwealth Police Force.

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