Author Topic: Parliament House lawns may be closed off in security clampdown  (Read 2272 times)

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Parliament House lawns may be closed off in security clampdown
« on: November 29, 2016, 09:09:15 PM »
New measures will reportedly include extra armed police and barriers – and could limit access to the signature grassy slopes

Tuesday 29 November 2016 08.15 AEDT

Security at Parliament House is reportedly set to be tightened as authorities say they are concerned about the building’s vulnerability to a terrorist attack.

New reinforcements are believed to include security barriers in public areas, fencing and gates around the Senate and House of Representatives entries, fewer pedestrian entry points and extra machine gun-equipped police, Fairfax Media reports.

Restricted access to the complex’s signature sloping lawns could stop Australians walking over the heads of their elected representatives – an opportunity the building was designed to provide.

A number of changes have reportedly received support from the major parties in the lower house and will be put to senators this week, with a view to beginning the works over the summer.

Security both inside and outside the 250,000 sq m premises has been stepped up significantly since 2014, when intelligence services intercepted “chatter” in terrorist networks about an attack on the building.

The ministerial wing was locked down after the review, with public access significantly restricted, and the Australian federal police was put back in charge of security.

The then prime minister, Tony Abbott, said parliament was never “specifically mentioned” in any of the intercepts.

The 2014 security review was also prompted by the attack in the Canadian capital of Ottawa, in which a soldier guarding the national war memorial was shot dead, and a gunman made it into the heart of the parliament before being killed by a ceremonial officer.