Tough new security measures have been put in place at Federal Parliament in response to the steadily increasing threat of domestic terrorism.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott says the new policies are strict, but necessary, to ensure public safety.
Jacob Carson reports.
Senators and MPs returning to Canberra today, encountered heightened security as the Government continues its counter-terrorism operations.
The Prime Minister, in a statement to the Lower House today, said the changes were needed to protect the public from harm.
Tony Abbott, Prime Minister: “An urgent review of Parliament House, of the safety of Parliament House, has recommended the Federal Police take control of internal, as well as external security.”
Although Federal Parliament House is considered a potential target for terrorist attacks, many MPs were confident in the new procedures.
Doug Cameron, Labor Senator: “I think this would be, given what’s happening at the moment, probably one of the safest places to be in the country.”
Jacqui Lambie, PUP Senator: “We’re in very capable hands with our Federal Police and the extra security that’s been provided in and around Parliament. I’m quite at ease with the situation.”
Under the new policies, the Ministerial Wing of Parliament has been locked down.
Only staff and those conducting business with photo I.D. will be granted access.
And, all unaccompanied visitor passes to Parliament House are banned.
Tony Abbott, Prime Minister: “In this building, there will be more armed police, fewer points of access and more scrutiny of Parliamentary passes.”
Counter-Terrorism is set to dominate Parliamentary sessions for the rest of the week.
The tightening of security in Canberra comes a few days before anti-terrorism legislation is presented to the Senate.
Jacob Carson, QUT News.