Question time - new P-series passport

  • Transcript (E&OE)
25 June 2014

Ms JULIE BISHOP (Curtin–Minister for Foreign Affairs) (14:53): I thank the member for Gilmore for her question. One of the first lines of defence in national security is border protection and the control of movement across our borders. An integral part of our armoury is our travel documentation. Today the government has released the new P-series passport. On indulgence, Madam Speaker, I will refer to this.

It improves on previous passports, as it includes a number of enhanced security measures, making it one of the most secure and trustworthy passport documents in the world. The specialist paper used in this new passport, particularly for the biographic data page, is extremely difficult to forge, and I am pleased to say that this secure paper is made in Australia by a paper mill in the member's own electorate of Gilmore.

There is a state-of-the-art colour-floating image laminate; it contains new optic features and a new electronic chip, which is lighter, stronger and faster. There are more features only detectable by ultraviolet light and special covert features, which provide additional levels of security. This cutting-edge advance in the integrity of our passports builds on our whole-of-government approach to protecting our borders and keeping Australia safe from those who would do us harm. I will not hesitate to cancel the passports of any Australian citizens suspected of engaging in terrorist activity and being a threat to our national security. The Australian government condemns terrorism and extremism, and we are taking a coordinated approach to countering it, across a whole range of areas.

Our intelligence agencies are working closely with our key partners. Indeed, this morning I met with ambassadors and representatives from the Middle East to discuss cooperation in counter-terrorism, in relation to events in Syria and Iraq. We have listed hundreds of terrorists and terrorist organisations, recently–83 terrorist listings–in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions. Australia has a comprehensive sanctions and terrorist-asset-freezing regime. It is a criminal offence to provide support, including financial support, to a terrorist or terrorist organisations.

Next month, Australia assumes the presidency of the global Financial Action Task Force. This promotes legal, regulatory and operational measures to counter-terrorist financing across the globe. Australians must not support terrorists or terrorist organisations, in any way whatsoever. We have strong penalties in place, including imprisonment of up to 25 years, for a range of terrorist offences.

Our nation is an inclusive one. It is built on tolerance and respect for others. But we will not tolerate criminal behaviour from extremists. We will take strong action against any person who threatens our national security. (Time expired)

Media enquiries