Senate debates

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Questions without Notice: Additional Answers

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

3:03 pm

Photo of Nick MinchinNick Minchin (SA, Liberal Party, Minister for Finance and Administration) Share this | | Hansard source

Senator Nettle asked me a series of questions yesterday with regard to the APEC meeting in Sydney in September. I have been provided with an answer to her question. I seek leave to have media incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The document read as follows—

APEC Black List

Senator Minchin—On 20 June 2007 (Hansard, page 15 - 16), Senator Nettle asked me, as Minister representing the Prime Minister, a question without notice regarding the involvement Commonwealth agencies such as ASIO and the federal police have in the preparation of a black list of citizens for APEC that bans people from being in most of the CBD of Sydney, whether the government supports the creation of the list, how will somebody know whether they are on the list and whether they have a right of appeal about their placement on the list, whether any Member of Parliament is on the black list, and what role the Australian Defence Forces will have in relation to protesters including whether the military will have a shoot to kill power evoked.

The Prime Minister has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question and I seek leave to have it incorporated in Hansard:

I am advised that:

There is no APEC “Black List”.

The Australian Government is providing a whole-of-government approach to the safe conduct of the APEC meetings. NSW Police is responsible for the security of APEC meetings and events held in Sydney.

ASIO is providing security assessments for APEC as part of the APEC Taskforce’s accreditation programme for individuals who require access to specific APEC venues. This process is not intrusive and involves politically motivated violence checks against ASIO databases, similar to those conducted for the aviation and maritime sectors and a string of special events including CHOGM, the 2000 Olympics and the Melbourne Commonwealth Games. ASIO security assessments are appealable in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. The entry to Australia of overseas visitors for APEC will be subject to normal visa checking processes.

ASIO is also providing security intelligence and protective security advice to police and Commonwealth agencies involved in security for APEC. Intelligence and law enforcement agencies are working together closely to monitor the threat environment.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) is not involved in the creation of a “black list”; however, the AFP as part of the whole-of-government preparation for APEC continues to monitor information and intelligence in relation to APEC. Should a threat be identified appropriate action will be taken.

Within this overall support, the Department of Defence, under Operation Deluge, will be providing support with a number of specific Task Groups. These include a Security Task Group, who will assist the NSW Police force with vehicle and venue searches, when requested, for the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting in Sydney. Maritime, Special Forces and air assets are also allocated to ensure that appropriate support is provided.

During APEC 2007, the Australian Defence Forces (ADF) will be prepared to provide support to the New South Wales police and government in accordance with its standing arrangements under the National Counter-Terrorism Plan. Under the current national security arrangements, the primacy of the civil authorities is paramount. State and territory authorities have the lead responsibility for responding to security incidents within their relevant jurisdictions. The arrangements for APEC 2007 are consistent with standard practise, and mirror closely the support provided recently to the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.

The ADF can only be called out to provide aid to the civil authorities in the event an incident overwhelms, or threatens to overwhelm, the capacity of the civil authorities. In the event of such an incident, this aid would be provided under Part IIIAAA of the Defence Act 1903, which was amended by the Government in February 2006 to provide a more flexible and effective basis for responding to terrorist incidents.

There are clear restrictions on the use of the ADF in the event of a security incident:

  • the ADF can only be called out as a last resort, when the capacity of the civil authorities is overwhelmed, or threatens to be overwhelmed;
  • the ADF cannot be used to restrict lawful protest or industrial action;
  • the use of force is always a last resort; and
  • at all times the ADF are responsible for their actions and are subject to relevant laws.

The ADF does not have ‘shoot to kill’ powers under Part IIIAAA. The potential use of force—up to and including lethal force—can only be used to protect the life of, or prevent serious injury to, other persons. This is consistent with the Part IIIAAA legislation introduced originally in 2000 to support the Sydney Olympics, and updated in February 2006.

These arrangements ensure the Government is well-prepared to provide assistance should the need arise, in addition to ensuring the protection of the Australian public and visiting dignitaries.