What can you get into Parliament House? Here’s a tale from the other side of the metal detectors:

I was working as a minor party staffer during the 2004 election campaign. It was the day of the PM’s Press Club speech in the Great Hall. Two lobbyists from an animal welfare organisation, known for dressing up as sheep and hugging the PM, requested a meeting. After confirming my boss was happy to let in the loonies, I went down to the Senate entrance for the sign-in. One of the lobbyists was carrying a large cardboard box and the darn thing was just a bit too big for the x-ray machine. So the guards squashed it down, gave it a shove and presto – it popped straight through.

Back at my office, I asked what was in the box. The young gentleman quickly obliged by opening it, pulling out the large round head of his costume, and then a set of rather nasty looking mulesing shears.

Is security instructed to let them through so the Nats can feel at home?

But what about airports? Melbourne is probably my favourite. They are convinced my Filofax is a danger to life and limb. It appears that’s all part of a subjective approach to what is and what isn’t a security risk:

I had a lovely non-experience with Melbourne’s airport security late last year when I caught an early mid-week flight to Sydney. My flight was fine and my day was normal until I was rummaging through my handbag for something-or-other, and was completely shocked to find my incredibly long and sharp kitchen knife that I had used to make my lunch the day before in Melbourne. I had obviously forgotten to remove it prior going to the airport in the morning.

No security beeps, no security peeps, nothing! I still don’t know if I should have been more furious with myself for recklessness or with the inattentive staff and ineffective security devices being used peak-time in our airports.

To think of the serious damage I could have caused if I wasn’t me…