More mutterings in the House on the Hill after Sunday’s Canberra Times
story on security standards and training. “About Parlt House
protection, you are right that it is an IR issue. Why don’t you ask how
much money has been made available to train these officers in anything?
(answer: nil),” one email to Crikey reads.

The situation seems to have changed little since August, when Kerry-Anne Walsh wrote in the Sun Herald:

Many of the guards who have greater access to the most
sensitive offices in Parliament House than the Prime Minister do not
have security clearances and many are casual staff.

Bureaucrats
are spending $25 million over four years turning the building into a
fortress, but nearly half the guards who secure offices, guard
Parliament and MPs, X-ray bags and scan people are casuals.

Even full-time staff, many of whom are former soldiers, emergency workers and police, have not been security cleared…

There are 170 staff who guard the interior of Parliament House.

Morale
is believed to be so low and staff turnover so high – understood to be
about 10 per cent a year – that permanent staff in the parliamentary
security service number only 99. The rest are casuals.

There’s more
on that van left by The Lodge, too. “A knowledgeable taxi driver told
me that it had actually been there for quite a number of days,” one
subscriber says.

The specialists in the seamier side of life in the national capital at The Riot ACT
are talking about the van, too. “Been sitting there for days before our
glorious security services swung into action with streets blocked for
hours. Bravo!” they say – adding “The robot did look cute though.”

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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