Added by David Sandercock on March 2, 2011
A senate committee has approved measures to toughen defence base security and to give soldiers the right to use deadly force to protect bases from terrorist attacks.
Labour senator Mark Bishop, Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee Chairman, said he and the committee are satisfied that there are sufficient safeguards to prevent inappropriate use of the new powers.
The Defence Legislation Amendment (Security of Defence Premises) Bill 2010 is a result of the arrest of five men in 2009 who were planning a terrorist attack on the Holsworthy army base outside Sydney, which in turn prompted a review of base security.
The new law extends the common law right to self defence of authorised defence personnel, giving them explicit authority to protect themselves or others in the case of an imminent or actual attack on a defence base.
It will also give defence personnel the right to perform a consensual, and in some instances non-consensual, search of people entering or leaving defence bases, including the right to require identification.
While civilian police maintains primary responsibility for dealing with security incidents at defence bases, defence personnel will be able to detain a person while awaiting the arrival of police.
In addition, the penalty for trespassing on a defence facility has been lifted from $40 to $5,500.
The bill will now be considered by the Senate.