“It sounds harsh, but I’m not surprised at what’s happened in Brussels. It was only a matter of time before something went bang,” Dale McPherson told The Point.
More than 30 people were killed and around 200 injured, mostly severely, after bomb blasts at Zaventem airport and Maelbeek metro station in Brussels on Tuesday.
The Barada Kabalbara man who served in the Australian Army for 15 years and worked in a counter-terrorism unit says Australia has been “very lucky” that the latest violent incident it encountered was the Lindt Café siege, where two of 18 hostages held by self-styled cleric Man Haron Monis were killed in Sydney’s CBD in 2014.
But Mr McPherson adds to assume nothing would happen on home soil is “a bit naïve”.
“We’re a big player in this whole picture alongside the UK and US and I think we’re very much a target,” he says.
“Unfortunately the ones I fear the most are the homegrown terrorists because they are here already, they’re right under our noses.”
He suggests Australian police should be “upper armed”, or allowed to walk around with weapons, although he acknowledges it may upset many people.
“Do we arm everything we do? Do we arm it to the teeth?” he says.
“But, if something happens, it’ll upset a lot more people than having the capability to prevent or deal with it fast and on the spot. The longer we leave it the more damage will be done.”
He says fear has already spread in the wake of the latest terror attacks and he expects security measures to tighten at airports.
“It’s slowly evolving to a point where we’ll be walking around in, not a military zone, but everything will be a lot harder and slower.”