Christian Kerr writes:
Guards in Parliament House have not been trained to deal with armed intruders, a report yesterday in The Canberra Times alleges. Staff at what the paper calls “the national capital’s primary
terrorist target” claim they have not yet received any instruction on
how to handle people
who enter the building with bombs, guns or knives, despite requesting
the training months ago.
The Canberra Times says it reported back in August that “rock bottom”
morale among officers, paid considerably less than other parliamentary
staff who perform similar duties, had led to high levels of absenteeism
and staff turnover. Kerry Anne-Walsh raised similar issues in Sydney’s Sun-Herald.
The Secretary of the Department of Parliamentary Services, Hilary
Penfold, has defended current security arrangements to the Times,
arguing armed threats could be dealt with by federal police staff based
outside the building.
And while Labor homeland security spokesman Arch Bevis says he is
“stunned” by the oversight, the view round the House today is that if
problem, it’s an IR, not a security issue – although the weekend story
of that van dumped near The Lodge for 2 hours before anyone noticed might
warrant a mention in Parliament this week.