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Senior ministers need bodyguards

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Targeting of ministers 'not very Australian': PM

Prime Minister Tony Abbott responds to a Fairfax report that Coalition ministers have had bodyguards for their personal protection at events. Nine News.

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Four senior ministers in the Abbott government have been assigned secret-service style protection amid an angry backlash over the federal budget, while a fifth minister is also receiving personal protection over specific threats.

The unprecedented ramp-up in security measures has seen Treasurer Joe Hockey, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Education Minister Christopher Pyne and junior Defence minister Stuart Robert assigned Close Personal Protection officers from the Federal Police in the month since the budget.

Three of of the four ministers needing protection: From left; Joe Hockey, Julie Bishop and Christopher Pyne.

Three of of the four ministers needing protection: From left; Joe Hockey, Julie Bishop and Christopher Pyne.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has also been assigned CPP teams in recent months, with his controversial portfolio said to be the reason to ramp-up protection, not the budget.

Government sources have admitted the extent of the protection measures required is unusual.

CPP teams are assigned full-time to protect Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the Israeli and US Ambassadors, while convention dictates that the deputy prime minister receives personal protection when the Prime Minister of the day is overseas.

However, in just the past month CPP has been assigned to provide the highest level of security to a slew of public events - many at universities:

❏ Ms Bishop was assigned a CPP team before a visit to Sydney University on May 16, three days after the budget.

The Foreign Minister was confronted and jostled by angry students, forcing her CPP team to intervene.

❏ Mr Hockey was accompanied on May 19 by a CPP team when he made an appearance on the ABC's Q&A, six days after the budget.

Mr Hockey also had a protection detail assigned to his residence in Canberra about the time of what has been a tough and unpopular budget.

❏ Mr Pyne's was assigned a CPP team for an appearance at Sydney University's St Johns College on May 22.

This was one of several occasions the Education Minister, who is driving controversial reforms, has needed protection from the elite unit.

❏ Mr Robert was assigned a CPP team for a visit to the Australian National University on May 29.

Federal police provide an assessment on ministers forward programs to assess whether there is a threat or a risk and whether further protection might be required.

Mr Pyne told the Nine Network on Friday that he and other ministers had been assigned protection by the federal police following the budget.

''When I visit university campuses the Australian Federal Police have made the assessment that it's wise for me to be accompanied by AFP officers and to do security checks in the places where I'm visiting,'' he said.

''That’s just part of the process of being in government really when you’re making major reforms and some of the students are taking the opportunity to protest.''

In the week after the budget, Mr Abbott was forced to cancel a visit to a Victorian university.

Former Labor immigration minister Chris Bowen had teams assigned to him on a regular basis in response to specific threats, like Mr Morrison.

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302 comments

  • Welcome to abbott's Australia, they have brought this situation onto themselves. Plant the seeds of hate and you reap the rewards accordingly. These incompetent "ministers" need to get out of Australia, seek asylum in a friendly country (nigeria, DRcongo, etc)

    Commenter
    petern
    Date and time
    June 20, 2014, 7:06AM
    • When you need to be protected from your own people maybe as a "representative of the people " you did something wrong? VERY wrong.
      The government have shown themselves to be representatives of only a narrow portion of the population.
      Curly Joe Hockey is a poor intellect attempting to be an elitist. Bishop is a self interested clown and Abbott has a messiah complex - but only for a few.

      Commenter
      G sacramento
      Date and time
      June 20, 2014, 8:07AM
    • Land of the free. Sold out to the hhighest bidder.

      Commenter
      ray pace
      Location
      narrabeen
      Date and time
      June 20, 2014, 8:12AM
    • Yeah - violence is always the appropriate answer. I guess invasions of countries are justified given your logic !

      Commenter
      no cages
      Location
      woden
      Date and time
      June 20, 2014, 8:16AM
    • What about North Korea?.....then that will make sure they can't get out to reek destruction in Australia ever again.

      Commenter
      JT
      Date and time
      June 20, 2014, 8:18AM
    • A Government elected on a platform of correcting the federal budget makes decisions about the budget and the ferals say they deserve physical harm in response. Welcome to barbarians' Australia.

      Commenter
      Green with Hypocrisy
      Date and time
      June 20, 2014, 8:18AM
    • G Sacramento, Well said !

      Commenter
      davros
      Date and time
      June 20, 2014, 8:19AM
    • maybe we could find places for them on Manus Island or PNG!

      Commenter
      HJR
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      June 20, 2014, 8:23AM
    • Green Hypocrite
      Elected on a platform of no surprises and no lies is the actual reality. It's not the budget itself voters are angry about, it's the blatant lies and confidence trick played on them. You might not mind being played for a fool but millions of others do.

      Commenter
      rext
      Date and time
      June 20, 2014, 8:30AM
    • I hope they're paying for these bodyguards out of their own parliamentary expenses, rather than out of General Revenue.

      Commenter
      David Arthur
      Location
      Queensland
      Date and time
      June 20, 2014, 8:41AM

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