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Rudd policy paralysis delays national counter-terrorism measures.

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Senator the Hon George Brandis SC Shadow Attorney-General

The implementation of the Government’s review of its national security and counter-terrorism strategy has been delayed for almost four months, and Cabinet is yet to make a decision on the matter, a Senate Estimates Committee was told this morning.

Under questioning from the Shadow Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis and Liberal Senator Russell Trood, Mr Martin Studdert, the Executive Director of the Protective Security Coordination Centre, which is responsible for the co-ordination of counter-terrorism policy, said that the report of the Smith Review on national security and border protection (which includes counter-terrorism) had been handed to the Government on 30 June.

But the Secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department, Mr Roger Wilkins, told the Committee that although some aspects of the recommendations had been considered by Cabinet, no decisions had yet been made. As a result, the implementation of the recommendations could not yet begin.

The Minister representing the Attorney-General, Senator Wong, when asked when the Government would make a decision on the recommendations, told the Committee that the Prime Minister would make a statement “later in the year”, but was unable to be more specific.

Senator Brandis said it was a matter of grave concern that the dithering of the Rudd Government was delaying the implementation of recommendations for improvements to national security, including, in particular, counter-terrorism.

“Almost four months have passed since the Government received the report, and still no decision has been made.”

“The public is entitled to expect the Government to treat issues of national security as matters of urgency. Instead, the Rudd Government’s trademark dithering is now affected an area of central importance to public safety,” Senator Brandis said.