House debates

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Statement by the Speaker

Parliament House: Security

3:15 pm

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | Hansard source

Before I call on the matter of public importance, I've got a statement to update members on an aspect of the security works, just for a minute or so. It's particularly to do with the security upgrade, which is the electronic access system. I'll provide the House with a more comprehensive update on the other aspects of security works next week.

As most members would be aware, in September 2014 a review of Australian Parliament House security arrangements was commissioned in response to the increased national terrorism-threat level in Australia. The review recommended a series of internal and external security enhancements at Australian Parliament House, of which many of the recommendations are progressively being implemented, and a number have been completed under the direction of the presiding officers.

One of the recommendations from the 2014 review was for the parliament to implement an electronic access system. As members would have seen, the system has been progressively installed throughout members' suites over several months but not switched on. A trial of the system has been conducted in several offices, including my office and the offices of the Deputy Speaker, the Second Deputy Speaker, the Clerk, the Serjeant-at-Arms, the Chief Government Whip, the Opposition Whip and several members of the Standing Committee of Privileges and Members' Interests. I've only had positive feedback during this time.

In preparation of a wider rollout of the system throughout the House, I've briefed both the House Standing Committee on Appropriations and Administration and the House Standing Committee of Privileges and Members' Interests. Both committees have endorsed the rollout of the system in the House of Representatives. The privileges committee has stipulated several conditions in relation to the rollout, which I've agreed to and I'm happy to talk to members about in due course.

With the endorsement of both the relevant House committees, the electronic access system to members' suites will now be switched on progressively over the next month or so. Parliament House passes for members and their staff will now become keys to the offices. Offices will be switched on corridor by corridor, but, of course, the Serjeant-at-Arms' office and the Department of Parliamentary Services will contact every office prior to this occurring to provide all of the relevant details and operating procedures. These staff will assist any members who do not yet have a Parliament House pass in obtaining one.

Finally, can I inform members that this electronic access system has been installed, switched on and operating in the ministerial wing for some months now. I thank the House.

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