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Liberal Senator Bill Heffernan brings pipe bomb into Parliament

UNDER THE FLAG

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Senator's pipe bomb stunt

A dummy pipe bomb and fake dynamite are produced in a Senate inquiry by Liberal Bill Heffernan to highlight changes in Parliamentary security.

PT0M0S 620 349

Gen-Y university students ... have taken to the streets. 

Two weeks later and it's safe to say the budget has not been what pundits might call ''well received''. A better descriptor might be ''shunned by polite society'', or perhaps: ''Put it this way, if it was a person walking past you on the street, you would totally cross the road to avoid looking into its deathly pale eyes.''

Pensioners are shaking their fists in outrage and Gen-Y university students, a notoriously self-interested bunch, have taken to the streets to complain about the effect it has on them. The protests have, incidentally, given Education Minister Christopher Pyne more joy than anything else that has happened since last year's John Howard Debating Cup final.

But not until Monday did we see just how truly pernicious the effects of budget cuts can be. Liberal senator Bill Heffernan, a man whose tendency towards erratic behaviour places him low on the list of people to whom you would give free access to explosives, smuggled a pipe bomb into Parliament.

To explain: the Department of Parliamentary Services, which looks after the big house on Capital Hill and all its security arrangements, has long been the subject of an efficiency dividend which forces it to cut costs year on year. Under the most recent cost-cutting, MPs, senators and staff are no longer scanned by metal detectors and are not subject to bag checks.

And so it came to pass that Heffernan, during a Senate estimates committee hearing on Monday, reached into a plastic Coles bag he had with him - the type favoured by homeless people of fragile mental health to transport their belongings - and pulled out a home-made pipe bomb.

''Up until this point, most people working in this building know that it's safe. I don't think it any longer is,'' he told Australian Federal Police chief Tony Negus, and unveiled with a flourish his handiwork, which appeared to be a mock version of two sticks of dynamite taped together in a MacGyver-meets-Unabomber style.

In case anyone was left in doubt of the serious damage such explosives could cause to democracy's great house, the Heff went on to explain.

''When I was a kid we used to blow stumps out on the farm, 50 years ago. We'd get some Nitropril, a quart of distillate, a plug of jelly and a detonator, light the bloody thing and [it would] go to buggery!'' he told the committee hearing. ''It could blow a tree the size of this building out of the ground.''

It is worth noting the security cost-cutting pre-dates the current government and its unloved budget, which, in any case, looks increasingly like it might get blown to buggery in the Senate.

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7 comments

  • Would have been better if Bill had smuggled in an ounce of commonsense.

    Commenter
    SteveH.
    Date and time
    May 27, 2014, 8:36AM
    • @SteveH:
      No lack of common sense by Bill Heffernan. He outsmarted security, brought in a bomb, confused the media and his parliamentary colleagues and then revealed his true intentions. He placed the device under Joe Hockey's budget and pressed the ignition button. Loud explosion, cascading shreds of paper everywhere, end of the problem. Well done Bill.

      Commenter
      JohnC
      Location
      Gosford NSW
      Date and time
      May 27, 2014, 2:03PM
  • The deliberately barren brain of Bill Heffernan strikes again.
    Bomber Bill wants to become Australia's own Guy Fawkes?
    Or was Heffernan launched into the Senate with a bomb as a desperate attempt to have anything other than the Budget discussed in the media?

    Commenter
    Machiavelli
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    May 27, 2014, 9:21AM
    • Its a diversion tactic, do anything to get focus away from the stinking budget!

      Commenter
      Astroboy
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      May 27, 2014, 10:02AM
      • He is drawing attention to the impact to himself of another budget cut. We await to see if that cut is reversed.

        Commenter
        nolongerconfused
        Date and time
        May 27, 2014, 12:36PM
    • Bill Heffernan IS a pipe bomb.

      Commenter
      Ursus Augustus
      Date and time
      May 27, 2014, 11:57AM
      • OK...to make it safer then...I suggest that ALL members of parliament have all bags etc that are taken into parliament thoroughly searched.

        This would mean the feds would have to check document bags thoroughly and all personal effects...

        Commenter
        Oogles
        Date and time
        May 27, 2014, 12:29PM
        Comments are now closed

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