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More power for police to check IDs, deny boarding at airports

A law that has the potential to affect any traveller, the Federal Government has introduced a new bill that gives police broader powers at airports. 


According to a statement from Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton, the Police Powers at Airports Bill 2018 expands existing powers for law enforcement agencies at Australian airports, enabling them to “direct a person to provide proof of identity, 'move on' from airport premises, or not take a flight, where they pose a criminal or security threat”.


Image Justin McManus, Source SMH


"While Australia already has strong and comprehensive aviation security, we need to remain ahead of this very real and evolving threat," Mr Dutton said.


"We have seen the incredible fear and heartache caused by terrorists around the world who wish to target the aviation network.


"We also know that Australia is at risk. This was most clearly illustrated last July, when catastrophic consequences were avoided through the disruption of a terrorist plot targeting a passenger plane in Sydney.


"Airports can also be a focal point for illicit drug trafficking and gang-related activity, which provide pathways for serious and organised crime groups to expand their operations and see devastating flow-on effects for our community."


The proposed law comes after the Government announced plans to spend $293 million on screening upgrades at regional airports and for air cargo, as well as increase police and border security presence at major airports.


Although the new law effectively gives police the power to check anyone’s ID at any time, though not “at random”, authorities will base their decisions “on clear criteria in the legislation and rely on their specialist expertise and training”.


"Police at our airports are highly-trained in behavioural analysis and threat assessments. However, they don't currently have the power to check ID unless they can link behaviour to a specific offence," Dutton said. 


"The proposed powers are commensurate with aviation security threats and will help our police protect the Australian community."


Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 12 September 2018

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