Aussie passengers face full-body scans | News.com.au
AIRLINE passengers face tougher security screening - including possible full-body scans on US flights - in a $400 million-plus strategy to tackle terrorism.
Religious rehabilitation programs to halt the spread of radical Islam in prisons will be unveiled and security at international gateways to Australia, particularly in Asia and the Middle East, will be strengthened.
According to the Herald Sun,domestic travellers can also expect more routine security screening, including swabs to detect explosives.
After lengthy delays and the rewriting of eight earlier drafts, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and his senior ministers will today finalise a White Paper on Counter-Terrorism.
The document aims to ensure Australia is better able to cope with threats from home-grown terrorism and follows the arrest of Muslim terrorism suspects in Melbourne last August.
The Government has also moved to tighten aviation security after the failed attempt by a Nigerian-born man to blow up a plane approaching Detroit in the US at Christmas.
The Government will also step up security for incoming cargo and reverse a decision to cut the number of air marshals.
The most controversial reform will be the likely introduction of full-body scans for international passengers.
Senior ministers believe that Australia should embrace tougher US-style anti-terrorism laws, despite concerns over passenger privacy and questions about the cost-effectiveness of the technology.
The roll-out of full-body scanners would take place at a small number of international airports - most likely Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane - and be used for flights to the US.
Top security advisers to the Government say the aim is to maintain vigilance without resorting to stripping passengers naked before a flight.
The Government is also considering enhanced explosive screening and tests to detect chemicals other than nitrates. Technology now used at most domestic airports can detect only nitrate-based chemicals.
Among other reforms, the Government will announce a big investment in security screening for international flights into Australia.
This will include installing new equipment and beefing up the number of officers at airports in Asia and the Middle East.
The White Paper will also include "preventive" measures, including programs to try to de-program radical Muslims in prison.
Britain puts money towards a Muslim grassroots initiative called the Radical Middle Way, which pays for an interactive website to promote mainstream Islam.
Cabinet's National Security Committee - which includes Mr Rudd, Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Treasurer Wayne Swan, Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith and Attorney-General Robert McClelland - will debate a range of options today.
The strategy's architects are the PM's National Security Adviser and former SAS commanding officer Duncan Lewis and his offsider Angus Campbell, another ex-SAS officer.
The new policy will also include a package of measures intended to streamline response times and the information flow between domestic security agencies such as ASIO, the overseas intelligence officers in the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, and the Australian Federal Police.