A victory for the Islamic State. “Australian Defence Force personnel advised to wear civvies due to terror threats,” by Julieanne Strachan, David Wroe, and Judith Ireland, Sydney Morning Herald, September 20, 2014:
Some commanding officers in the Australian Defence Force have been advising their personnel not to wear their uniforms to and from work and on public transport for safety reasons in the wake of increased terror alerts.
The move may be extended around the country at the discretion of individual officers, although it will not become official ADF policy, as it would be seen as a victory for the Islamic State (ISIL).
This comes as the Australian Federal Police asked the Abbott government to speed up the issuing of control orders, which allow police to place restrictions on people who are deemed to be a risk to public safety, in the wake of last week’s terror raids.
An ADF commanding officer in Victoria told Fairfax Media that he had advised his juniors to consider wearing civilian clothes off base for safety reasons.
“It’s not for us so much as for our families,” he said. “I think most other [officers] are probably doing that as a precaution. There is a small number of people who support ISIL but those people represent a big threat.”
The officer said that Defence had not officially recommended such steps as removing uniforms before leaving bases and barracks because it “did not want to give ISIL the recognition”.
A soldier in Western Australia has also told Fairfax Media that he has been advised not to wear his uniform off base.
The uniform directives come after security on Defence facilities was lifted on Friday from “safe base Bravo” to “safe base Charlie”. This is the first time security has been lifted to that level since the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.
The practical effects vary from base to base, but include things like closing some entry and exit points, increasing the numbers of guards and tightening security checks and processes.
The concerns about uniforms also follow a warning to defence personnel earlier this month to be vigilant after a widely reported incident in which an ADF member was approached by a group of men in Sydney’s CBD and told to go to the Middle East so we can “blow your f—in’ head off”.
Speaking to reporters from Brisbane on Saturday, Attorney-General George Brandis said the AFP believed there should be a “more expedited regime for obtaining control orders” in “certain, very urgent circumstances”. Senator Brandis said the government would discuss speeding up the control order process this week, as new terror laws were debated by Parliament.
The National Security Legislation Amendment Bill, which aims to modernise and boost ASIO’s powers – and has largely been approved by a bipartisan committee – is due for debate in the Senate on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the so-called “Foreign Fighters” bill, which will clamp down on Australians fighting overseas, is due to be presented in draft form to the upper house….