MPs at Parliament House have been asked to “keep their blinds closed so as not to present a line of sight”, in light of recent terrorist threats.
Speaker of the House of Representatives Bronwyn Bishop chaired a special security briefing to Parliament yesterday, where staff and MPs were presented with a range of recommendations and measures pertaining to personal safety and security in and around Parliament House.
One MP present at the meeting told Business Insider that Australian Federal Police (AFP) and security officials suggested MPs “keep their blinds closed so as not to present a line of sight” – presumably for possible snipers – which seemed to raise some issues among members present.
“A whole lot of questions were raised, such as shouldn’t the glass be bulletproofed and how far will these instructions extend?” he said.
He said recommendations were also made in regards to MPs varying their daily routines and travel arrangements to and from Parliament.
“This is extremely difficult considering there is only one road in and out of Parliament… in terms of varying our routine, Parliament has set seating times and as soon as that bell sounds to signal the end of a session there’s a mad dash to exit the building,” he said.
“There are people who like to go jogging on their lunch breaks and we were told to be cautious when exercising and walking in and around the building.
“What’s next? Are they going to shut up our offices completely?”
Security at Parliament House was handed over to AFP commanders and superintendents on Sunday, with armed guards, both uniformed and plain clothed, on constant patrol throughout the corridors and exterior of the building.
The Department of Parliamentary Services issued an internal memo from the presiding officers, informing staff that the Ministerial Wing was in lockdown.
Here’s a copy of the memo:
The increased security measures follow the revelation late last week that security authorities monitoring potential terrorist plots reportedly picked up on “chatter” pertaining to a possible attack on Parliament House.
Australia has been subject to a range of alleged terrorist threats over the past two weeks, with police and intelligence agencies carrying out raids, arresting and charging suspected jihadists and ramping up security and surveillance.
The most recent development in the threat to national security occurred in Melbourne Tuesday night, when 18-year-old Abdul Numan Haider was shot dead by Police after allegedly making threats against the Prime Minister and stabbing two officers at Endeavour Hills in Melbourne’s south-east.
For a wrap-up of the latest events involving suspected terrorists and alleged plots in Australia CLICK HERE.
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