Stout security upgrades approved for Parliament House

Stout security upgrades approved for Parliament House

SBS World News Radio: Major security upgrades at parliament house in Canberra have been approved as a second protest erupted in the seat of government.

Just a day after being forcefully removed from the parliament for disrupting Question Time, the protestors were back.

This time they were outside and on the front of Parliament House.

Two people abseiled from the top of the iconic building, unfurling a banner to spread their message opposing offshore detention.

At the same time more than a dozen others stood in the foreground fountain, which they'd dyed red.

Protestor Phil Evans says both days were months in the planning, and they'll be back.

"I think that we're making sure our message is being heard by the community, the overwhelming support, you see it in the diverse community. A few comments from parliamentarians is not going to deter us. They are responsible for the murder, the abuse of refugees, of children, of women and men."

The protest was organised by the same group that disrupted question time yesterday and had to be forcibly removed.

They call themselves the Whistleblowers, Activists and Citizens Alliance.

Queensland Liberal National Party Senator James McGrath had another description.

He took to Facebook to label the group a bunch of "moss-munching, glue-guzzling, K-Mart Castros" who are "vandalising Parliament stopping other opinions being heard".

The two protestors who scaled the building will be hauled before court at some point, but their actions over the past few days has raised concerns about the security of the building.

Today, the Parliament's first order of business was to introduce new security measures flagged weeks earlier.

Speaker Tony Smith told the parliament why the measures are needed.

"All enhancements, those already completed and those being proposed today, are the result of advice from our security agencies and based on many months of considerations. It's important to acknowledge these works do have an impact on the original design intent of Parliament House, however it's also important to acknowledge the world has changed since the original design brief for Parliament House."

Sixty million dollars in security upgrades passed the Senate easily, but not without opposition from some.

Senator Derryn Hinch has a vivid description, comparing the building to another Australian landmark.

"I think what you're planning is like putting barbed wire on the Opera House. This is an aesthetic building, it's the people's building. I think it's too much."

Greens Leader Richard Di Natale says it attacks the fundamental principle on which the building was built.

"This is a parliament that was built to ensure that it welcomed the community into the Parliament and to ensure that it was politicians who were connected to the work of ordinary members of the community. In fact, the very design was so that politicans served at the feet of the people."

The changes will restrict public access to the sloping lawns at the front of parliament house.

A perimeter fence of up to 2.5 metres will also be put up, but won't restrict access to the front entrance.

Recent changes to the ministerial entrance will be replicated at the senate and lower house entries.

And almost 40 extra CCTV cameras will be installed.

An investigation into how the protestors were able to disrupt one of the last Question Times for the year has been launched.


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