Mar 14, 2012

MPs test out body scanners at Parliament

Federal MPs will have an opportunity this week to test new body scanners at Parliament House so they can see for themselves the benefits of introducing this advanced screening technology at our major airports.

The Gillard Labor Government introduced legislation last month following a successful trial in Sydney and Melbourne, with the new technology to be rolled out across Australia’s international airports from July this year.

The aim of the demonstration is to show how easy and effective the machines are to use so MPs will have first-hand experience before further debate on the bill.

This is the most advanced screening technology available in the world and it’s important that everyone has a good understanding of how it works.

The demonstration will show how people’s privacy is protected with a generic outline used to display the location of metallic and non-metallic items under clothing (below).

As an additional measure, the images will not be able to be copied and will not be stored.

The machines are also perfectly safe and have thousands of times less energy than an average mobile phone call.

Passenger health, privacy and safety were assessed following the trial including extensive consultation with industry and privacy groups.

Once introduced, passengers departing Australia may be required to pass through a body scanner which will be used along with existing screening technology.

While the legislation allows exemptions for serious medical conditions, any passenger directed by an officer must undergo screening and refusal to screen will mean refusal to fly.

The body scanners are being introduced as part of a $28 million package for new screening measures at Australia’s eight international gateway airports.

Australia has a safe aviation record with over 13 million people flying out of our international airports each year.

This will provide an additional layer of security at our airports and is part of the Government’s $200 million Strengthening Aviation Security Initiative.