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Tuesday, 13 May 1980
Page: 2110

Senator KNIGHT (ACT) - I ask the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been drawn to a report indicating that the Foreign Affairs Association, which consists of officers of the Commonwealth Department of Foreign Affairs, has criticised the Government for not giving adequate priority to security measures at Australia 's overseas posts. Is it correct that inadequate funds have been allocated for security measures and that this places Australian personnel at risk? What further action will the Government take on the report of the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence which referred to this matter to ensure that the security of Australians serving in our overseas posts is assured?

Senator CARRICK - My advice is that the Government is fully aware of the increasingly serious and frequent security problems faced by Australian diplomatic personnel serving overseas. In emergency situations the security of our staff is and will remain the Government's prime concern. Our concern with security has been demonstrated by the establishment of a rolling program for upgrading protective security overseas. In the past three years, $ 1.45m has been spent on improving the security of our chanceries and residences in other countries. In addition, revised procedures have been determined for the development of threat assessments and protective security responses to such threats. Action is in hand to increase the staffof the security section of the Department of Foreign Affairs. These programs are in response to the security requirements of our posts overseas. They are along the lines suggested by the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence in its report into the Department. Further detail on the Government's programs may be obtained from the Government's formal response to that report, which was tabled in the Senate on 22 April of this year.

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