Federal Politics


Armed guards now stationed to protect Australian MPs and senators in both chambers of Federal Parliament

For the first time in Australian history, armed guards are protecting MPs and senators in both chambers of the Federal Parliament.

The escalation of parliamentary security is part of the the second tranche of security changes put in place by the Speaker Bronwyn Bishop and Senate President Stephen Parry.

The armed guards will be in place whenever a member of the executive, which includes Prime Minister Tony Abbott, are in ...
The armed guards will be in place whenever a member of the executive, which includes Prime Minister Tony Abbott, are in the chamber. Photo: Andrew Meares

Fairfax Media has confirmed that several guards with guns are now stationed on the ground level of the House of Representatives and the Senate, in a glass-enclosed booth where the parliamentary audio visual department located.

The changes were put in place on Monday. From now on the highly-trained guards will be present whenever a member of the executive is present and on any other occasion it is deemed necessary for the guards to be in place.

The executive includes Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his full ministry. Parliament is not allowed to sit without a member of the executive present.

Previously, members of a prime minister's close personal protection detail were stationed in the glass-enclosed booth whenever the Prime Minister was in the chamber, but the detail was unarmed.


Arms are not allowed on the floor of the House of Representatives or Senate chamber without the express permission of the Speaker or the Senate president.

The changes come after Ms Bishop and Senator Parry introduced new security measures in September last year after the terrorism threat level was raised to high.

Those changes included Australian Federal Police armed with assault rifles being stationed in plain sight both in and outside the chamber. Security was also handed over to the AFP.

Parliament House's in-house security is still operating too, but they are not armed.

And in October, after a tragic attack on the Canadian Parliament and war memorial, Ms Bishop reassured MPs that a similar style attack would be very unlikely to succeed in Australia's Parliament.

"The images showing members taking action and barricading themselves into the chamber in Canada are of concern. The range of armed response and security lockdown arrangements that we have in place means that this type of action will not be necessary here," she said.

"Our Parliament and its perimeter are very different in the design to the Canadian Parliament.

"We have a number of layers and security measures designed to protect building occupants."

At the time, the Speaker said staff in the building would notice an increase in security.

A spokesman for Ms Bishop said "we don't comment on the day to day operation of security in Parliament House" but did not deny the story. 

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