Security Breach at Parliament House

In these days of fear and loathing, with the war on terror proceeding apace, one expects the security of the Nation’s Parliament to be of the highest standard. Some may recall the 2002 review of security which identified various security lapses around Parliament House and recommended various action including excluding cars from the forecourt with massive bollards. Also recommended, and presumably implemented, was the introduction of electronic swipe cards for all employees.

It was therefore quite a surprise when an acquaintance confided to me that he had been able last week to access the inner sanctum of Parliament House without any current identification or security pass.

There to visit a friend, he had been instructed to call when he arrived so he could be escorted into Aussie’s Cafe, located in the bowels of the House with unimpeded access to ministerial offices and frequented by politicians and staffers. Having previously worked at Parliament and retaining a ‘souvenir’ pass, expiry date Nov 2005, he decided to see if he could make his own way into the building.

At the main security gate on the ‘garden side’, he flashed his card and was waved through. Inside, encountering a door that required a current swipe card, he encountered someone on the way out who politely held the door open for him. No-one had given more than a cursory glance at the card which presumably could have been faked by anyone with picture editing software, a printer and a laminator.

My acquaintance’s friend was very surprised to say the least to find him inside the building. Fortunately my acquaintance didn’t have a bomb strapped to his body, but next time will we be so lucky?

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