August 26: Taxpayers are footing the bill for security upgrades to MPs’ homes in the wake of death threats and stalking by angry voters. Fences, CCTV cameras and security grills on windows are being installed to protect the families of Australia’s political leaders.
Last year the Federal Police investigated 156 incidents involving high-profile politicians, including Ms Gillard, Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott, Julie Bishop, Treasurer Wayne Swan and former Greens leader Bob Brown.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s Altona home is the most high-profile example, where work is underway to install high fences.
In a big security breach in Parliament House on Thursday a man entered a restricted area and handed a note to the PM during a press conference being broadcast live on TV.
Attorney-General Nicola Roxon was also recently menaced by a man who pointed his hand in the shape of a gun at her head and told her and another MP he would “like to shoot you both”.
The Melbourne Magistrates’ Court heard the man approached the women after a ceremony outside council offices in Altona on April 22 and also told them: “I can’t believe my luck. I’ve got two of you in the one place which makes it easier to take you both out.”
The spending on security upgrades for politicians’ private homes comes under Ms Roxon’s Attorney-General portfolio but her department will not reveal the cost of the upgrades, citing security concerns.
“The Attorney-General’s department has responsibility for security infrastructure for residences of Commonwealth holders of high office,” a spokesman said.
“There is no specific administered funding for the payment of security works for the residence of parliamentarians.”