The Australian National Terrorism Public Alert System

has four levels of alerts. They are:

  • low—terrorist attack is not expected
  • medium—terrorist attack could occur
  • high—terrorist attack is likely
  • extreme—terrorist attack is imminent or has occurred.

The alert level was changed last week to high for the first time since it started in 2003. The level is set on the recommendation of the Australian Security Organization. It would not be set to high on a whim.

Some people think we live in a country with no security threats. They are wrong. The fact New Zealand citizens have been fighting alongside radical extremists in Syria is a deep cause for concern.

Also a reader e-mails:

There’s a lot of complaining going on about GCSB at the moment on the eve on the Internet Party function tonight.

My daughter is 7yo and attends a Jewish school in Melbourne.  As you may know, the Australian threat index was increased to High last week.  This is due, in part, to gathering.  As such, our children and teachers are put through lockdown simulations in case there is an attack such as we have seen in France and Belgium.

I am totally comfortable, if not glad, that NZ is subscribing to an international task force that can alert and prevent such atrocities.  There is no easy answer.

My view on GCSB powers are the same as during the GCSB Bill, which is that we should have two separate entities – one for communications interceptions and foreign gathering – and another entity for cyber-security. They are both legitimate functions of government, but having both functions in the one entity does mean that there can be a concern that powers for one function (cyber-security) could be used for another (communications interception) so a rational reform would be to split GCSB into two entities.

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