As part of a raft of rules being implemented across Australian airports, travellers may receive fines of $4200 or face imprisonment if they refuse to comply with new police powers.
Anyone who looks suspicious can now be apprehended and asked for identification and if travellers do not cooperate, they can be ejected form airports and banned from flights.
Legislation introduced to Parliament on Tuesday means police will now be able to carry out identity checks when travellers look suspicious or threatening.
“Police at our airports are highly trained in behavioural analysis and threat assessments. However, they don’t currently have the power to check ID unless they can link behaviour to a specific offence,” said Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.
“The proposed powers are commensurate with aviation security threats and will help our police protect the Australian community.”
Uncooperative travellers could face fines of up to $4200, 12 months’ imprisonment if they provide false information or two years if they obstruct a Commonwealth official.
Prior to the new laws, Australian Federal Police (AFP) could not identify potential threats until a clear breach or crime was committed. The new rules mean AFP can effectively ask anyone for ID and if not satisfied, fine or arrest flyers.
While many Australians will welcome the extra layer of security at airports, Labor wishes to further investigate the potential impact of the legislation. Greens senator Nick McKim has also called on Labor to oppose the changes, saying that Mr Dutton is just “attacking the basic rights of every Australian to distract from the multiple scandals he’s involved in”.
“There is no justification for this ‘papers please’ policy,” said Mr McKim.
“This adds to the over 200 legislative changes over the last 20 years which remove fundamental rights and freedoms from Australian people.”
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