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Counter-Terrorism Discussion Exercise in Melbourne

Counter-Terrorism Discussion Exercise in Melbourne


Attorney-General Philip Ruddock today welcomed more than 200 intelligence and security personnel to a counter-terrorism exercise designed to test responses to the attempted entry of a terrorist into Australia.

“Today’s discussion exercise is one of a series designed to help prepare Australia’s national security agencies for the week-long multi-jurisdictional counter-terrorism exercise Mercury 05 in October,” Mr Ruddock said.

Exercise participants included a variety of Commonwealth and State agencies with a role in immigration, customs, intelligence and police investigations who would be involved in detecting, stopping and questioning such a terrorist suspect.

While today’s exercise focussed on investigation and detention, others to be held in the lead-up to Mercury 05 will canvas issues such as call-outs and deployments, critical infrastructure and communications, media and public information and consequence management and recovery.

The Attorney-General told this morning’s exercise participants in Melbourne they should grasp every opportunity to fine-tune approaches and test Australia’s counter-terrorism arrangements.

“Not all our counter-terrorism exercises are about bangs and flashes and lights and sirens – a great many deal with important behind-the-scenes decision making,” Mr Ruddock said.

“The rapid and effective response by the authorities to the London terrorist attacks in July demonstrated the enormous value of preparedness, practice and organisation.

“The British response was characterised by strong cooperation and coordination between government agencies and by the use of innovative investigation techniques which produced quick results.

“While Australia's counter-terrorism arrangements have many of these qualities, we cannot afford to become complacent and must continue to ensure our preparations are equal to the threat posed by terrorism.”

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