Australia ignores criminal threat on docks
Australian laws aimed at preventing convicted felons and potential terrorists from working in seaports are not working, according to a government report.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported Wednesday that the government document, issued by the country's Office of Transport Security, offered a damning indictment of the Australia's six-year-old Maritime Security Identity Card program.
MSIC requires port workers to undergo criminal background screening and an Australia Security Intelligence Organization assessment to access wharves and offshore facilities.
But the government said the program is failing 'because it does not detect and act on 'a range of offences and behaviors that are known to have linkages with terrorist activity and the unlawful interferences with maritime transport and offshore facilities,' ' the newspaper reported. 'The offenses going undetected include those relating to possessing explosives, theft, significant weapons violations, racketeering, blackmail and bribery and 'offenses relating to the death of another human — be it by assassination or murder.' '
The identity card program is essentially Australia's version of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential program implemented by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration.
The Australian government report said union opposition poses a roadblock to more accurate background screening.
The report was conducted by consulting firm GHD.