Parliament’s top bureaucrat, Hilary Penfold, this morning interrupted the quiet slumber on Capital Hill with an alert headed: “White powder incident in Parliament House.” Has a cocaine smuggling ring been busted in Canberra? Maybe not:

From: Penfold, Hilary (DPS)
Sent: Thursday, 9 June 2005 9:47 AM
To: SEN-Department; SEN-Senators; SEN-SenStaff; REPS-Department; REPS-Members; REPS-MemStaff; Hazell, Annette (DOFA);
Subject: White powder incident in Parliament House

Another package of white powder has been detected in the Loading Dock. The incident has been contained in the Loading Dock, and ACT emergency services have been called. The loading dock has been closed, and as a result there will be delays in the delivery of mail within the building today. However, there is no danger to people in the building. Further information will be provided in due course.

AAP reports suspicious packages have also arrived at the British High Commission and the US, Japanese and South Korean embassies in Canberra. These are all countries that sent troops to Iraq.