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Terrorism & Australia’S National Security In The 21st Century

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Discuss Australia’s national counter-terrorism strategy.

Is it effective? Can it be improved, and if so, how?

Terrorist comes knocking on our doors like a thief in the night. They come silently even if with expected them, causes damages, and leave before we could catch them. Therefore, there is a need for counter-terrorism to be put in place by governments in order to fight this new war of terrorism. Counter-terrorism is defined as the ways of practices, tactics, and strategies to detect and prevent violent dissident activities by police, security agencies, and military forces which normally involve all levels of society using different approaches (James and Brandon 2004, p. 224; Wikipedia 2005).

At the same time, Australia has been vigilant about its status to terrorist attack at all times. This preparedness comes after the first terrorist attack on Australia, which is the bombing of the Hilton Hotel during the 1978 CHOGM meeting on February 13, �The Hilton bombing revisited’ (Green Left Weekly 1995). At that point of time, Australia was taken into shocked and wasn’t prepared to implement any strategies plan as it was dealing with politically motivated violence. Therefore, this incident leaves a black history to Australia and security agencies now have established the Watch Office, where they were to collect and analyze information about our national security on a constant basis (Robert 2002, p. 3)

However, Australia's security environment today has changed from domestic to a new kind of global fight against terrorism. This terrorism is seen as transnational, crossing borders without boundaries and it is normally done by religious extremist. The most prominent well-establishment terrorist organization that exists today is the Al Qaeda. As proposed by Australian Government (2004), the Al Qaeda leaders are most likely to threaten publicly and frequently. Their declared rationale is often misleading, but their intentions are clear. The main objective of this terrorist group is quoted as saying "to kill Americans and their allies, civilians, and military is an individual duty of every Muslim who is able." Hence, Australia is not spare from being a terrorist target especially by Jemaah Islamiyah who was adopted by other sympathizers of al-Qaeda and most probably trained in terrorist camps.

Australia Counter Terrorism Strategy

This in place put Australia in the forefront to adopt a highly reliable counter-terrorism strategy. This includes a well-structured preparation through the National Counter-Terrorism Plan (NCTP) which outlines the full responsibilities, authorities and the mechanisms to prevent, or if they occur manage, acts of terrorism and their consequences within Australia (National Counter-Terrorism Committee, 2003). The NCTP breaks into fours accounts of strategies which includes the legal and administrative framework, prevention and preparedness, response and recovery efforts.

Legal and Administrative Framework

The Australian Government determines policies and legislative changes to better protect Australia and make it more difficult for terrorists to conduct their activities. Therefore with more laws and policies set by state and the Commonwealth government, it will help specific the offences and the sentences if someone is involved in terrorism activities or a terrorist organisations and also puts in place measures to deny terrorists the funds they rely on (Australian Government 2004).

Prevention and Preparedness

As the Australia’s legislative framework has been strengthened, definitely it will empower the capacity of intelligence and law enforcement agencies to detect, investigate and prosecute terrorists, terrorist organisations and those who seek to train and associate with terrorist groups both internally or overseas. This will disrupt terrorist activities while the Australian Government takes effort through working closely with both the private sectors and to protect vital national systems and assets such as energy infrastructure, food supplies, health systems and banking. As listed in the NCTP, the Australian government also takes initiative to provide a fund to encourage science and technology research into areas relevant to combating terrorism while actively promoting international and regional engagement on counter-terrorism issues and supports a wide range of cooperative activities to build international resilience against terrorism (Australian Government 2004).

Response and Recovery Efforts

The rapid and effective capabilities of the Australia National Counter-Terrorism Plan are to reduce the impact of a terrorist incident, should one occur. This is done as the government has introduced new measures to manage chemical, biological and radiological incidents. Thus, Australia is also enhancing its capacity to respond to terrorist attacks through strengthened police, emergency and defense capabilities (Australian Government 2004). If there is a need, the Emergency Management Australia (EMA) will set up temporary bases to support the victims of an attack through regular exercising of jurisdictional crisis management and recovery emergency response and health services (Ed 2004, pg 13).

Improvement in National CT strategy

The plan for Australia to counter-terrorism certainly has not reached its full potential. Even so as the in the World Market Research Centre rate Australia as the nation best prepared for a terrorist attack in their Global Terrorism Index 2003-04 but we turn out to be the 38th of 186 nations that are at risk of a terrorist attack. Therefore, as it is discussed that the current Counter-terrorism strategies are effective, we still on a long journey for improvement.

Firstly, as Australia faces more and more challenges through unexpected attack by terrorists, the government will have to be prepared for it and also take into account the future treat environment in the long-term. We will have to keep up with our intelligence gathering and analysis so that it keeps in pace with terrorist activities. As said by the Australian Government in �Protecting Australia against Terrorism’ 2004, this approach can be done through have a closer corporation with international agencies and as well with partnership with private sector in order to foster a closer relationship with the public to combat terrorism. It is said that the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) should increase its personnel levels



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