Australian Prime Minister John Howard called on parliament to pass legislation quickly to give police broader powers in the War on Terror after his government received specific information regarding a planned attack in his country.
The Age of Australia reports:
"'The government has received specific intelligence and police information this week which gives cause for serious concern about a potential terrorist threat,' he told reporters in Canberra.
'We have seen material. It is a cause of concern.
'We have been given advice that if this amendment is enacted as soon as possible the capacity of the authorities to respond will be strengthened.
'And I am satisfied on what I have been told, and the government and the national security ministers in cabinet are satisfied, that that is the case but I do not intend and cannot and will not go into any of the operational details.'
All state premiers and the federal opposition have agreed to support the changes, which will be rushed through parliament tonight and tomorrow in a special Senate sitting."
It is easy for people to be cynical that Mr. Howard is using this as a ploy to enact tougher laws with little debate. However, as The Age points out, the legislation has opposition support, which gives credence to the government's claim that it is seriously investigating a terrorist plot. Given the tragic attacks in nearby Bali against Australians and other non-Muslims, it is good the government and opposition is united in taking all steps possible to thwart an attack.