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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.

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“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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