Now that the terrorism threat to Australia is at an all-time high according to the government, April Davis is wondering if it’s worth our while to be more alarmed.
For the first time in Australian history the government has raised the terrorist attack level to high, with claims being made that a terrorist attack is now “likely”.
ASIO Director-General of Security, David Irvine, is the man behind the decision. He believes there has been a rise in the “intent and capability” of extremists, with Federal intelligence naming Sydney as the city most under threat, given its unofficial title as “Australia’s capital”.
“There are people with the intent and the capability to mount attacks here,” Mr. Abbott said. “Our security agencies have raised the threat level based on an accumulation of indicators. There are people out there, I regret to say, who wish to do us harm.’’
However, Mr. Abbott stresses that our day-to-day lives will not change. This is despite Federal and State police numbers being pumped up with boosted sweeps at footy finals, train stations, airports, military bases and ports. The $630 million counter-terrorism upgrade will include banning Australians from leaving the country to travel to countries like Syria and Iraq.
Australia is now on the same threat level as the UK, but Mr. Irvine said there is no intelligence that an attack will happen, it’s just “much more likely”.
Since the rise of the terrorism threat level, NSW police have ramped up their search for rocket launchers that police suspect are buried in Sydney bushland by an Islamic-linked terrorist cell. The launchers were stolen by former army captain Shane Della-Vedova in 2002, with one recovered on the black market. The search for the remaining four continues.
Members of the cell planned to use the rocket launchers to attack high-profile Sydney residents. So far, they have refused to reveal to police where they are hidden – given incidents like these, maybe the Abbott government’s fear for the safety of their citizens is understandable.
Even though it’s unlikely Australia would be the first choice for a high-scale terrorist attack, we have had enough involvement in the war on terror to make us a possible target.
If anything, we should be thankful that the government is taking any form of threat seriously.