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Estimates: Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee (Australian Federal Police)

Lee Rhiannon 26 May 2014

Senator RHIANNON: With regard to the advice given to ministers and the Prime Minister with regard to events they attend—you spoke about the consultation that was undertaken—are there any specific protocols or guidelines used to judge when an event warrants advice to senior members of government not to attend, or is it on a case by case basis, or is it when requests come from the minister's or the Prime Minister's office?

Mr Negus : As I mentioned before to Senator Ludwig I am not prepared to divulge the specifics of what we consider or do not consider in regard to attendance at those locations. That would detail operational security matters, which would put us at a disadvantage. It is a difficult job at the best of times, but to divulge the things we do or do not consider would be unreasonable at this stage.

Senator RHIANNON: I was not actually asking about that. I did not use the phrase you have just used. I was just asking if there were some set protocols or guidelines or if it is on a case by case basis. Surely you can answer that?

Mr Negus : Everything is on a case by case basis, but there are set protocols and guidelines, as well, which we would consider. We train our officers to assess risk and look at these things and make judgments accordingly, but as I mentioned I am not prepared to go into any detail of what they might be.

Senator RHIANNON: In regard to demonstrations, is there a defined ratio of AFP members to protestors that you work off when you are determining your security detail?

Mr Negus : Again, that would be a tactical issue that I would not be prepared to divulge.

Senator RHIANNON: There was a report in the media last week—and you have handled some of this, but I would like to ask this just for clarification—that the AFP were concerned about the safety of Mr Pyne and Mr Abbott if they attended the event in Geelong, and about the safety of innocent bystanders. Was that an accurate report in the media?

Mr Negus : Yes, it would be. They are the considerations we would make in making an assessment. Yes.

CHAIR: Thanks, Senator Rhiannon.

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