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Sydney International Airport security breach inexcusable.

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Senator Mark Bishop Shadow Minister for Customs Senator for Western Australia


7 July 2004

Sydney International Airport Security Breach Inexcusable

Customs has again failed at Sydney International Airport to provide proper security, Shadow Minister for Customs, Senator Mark Bishop said today.

For the second time this year, a passenger without a boarding pass has avoided the Customs/Immigration barrier control and attempted to board a US bound aircraft.

The result has been chaos, delay, cost - and overall, further evidence that Customs is inadequately equipped and resourced to secure Australia's entry points.

In such a controlled and confined environment there can be no excuses.

The Minister for Justice and Customs daily trumpets the successes of finding illegal imports and exports of fossils, wildlife and counterfeit goods, but Customs still fails the elementary task of border control.

Much is being made of new identification technology, spies in the sky, and machine guns on ships, but it is all a publicity stunt.

The bottom line is that Customs cannot perform a bread and butter function.

The security of air passengers needs to be put ahead of the Patagonian Toothfish.

Once again serious questions need to be asked of Customs’ capacity and the adequacy of resources to do the job.

If it is this easy at our busiest international airport, how certain can we be of what happens elsewhere?

Labor calls on the Howard Government to immediately investigate this breach, as well as that of last New Year's Eve. The Government needs to identify the extent to which this breach was the result of staff shortages, lack of funding, poor supervision or simple negligence.

It's about time the Howard Government matched its security rhetoric with its administration. This is another example of tough talk and no action.