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ASIO building debacle demands inquiry

Media Release
Christine Milne 28 May 2013

Australian Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne has called for an independent inquiry into the ASIO building following revelations the building plans were accessed by Chinese hackers.

"There is a sorry saga associated with the ASIO building that goes back many years. It's a legacy of the Howard government and has been carried on by the Gillard government," Senator Milne said.

"It's time we had an independent inquiry into the history of the ASIO building and the extent to which the current hacking has compromised its capacity to ever be the building and serve the purpose for which it was intended - home of the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation.

"Going right back to the Howard government era, Philip Ruddock did not require the ASIO building to go through the appropriate committee for security reasons and we've seen mega financial blowouts from $460 million up to $631 million, partly because of asbestos problems on the site.

"If one contractor has been hacked we can assume that most of them could or will be hacked. Australians deserve to know how this level of security breach could have happened or not have been foreseen?"

"It's hard to see how the building can remain satisfactory for the purpose for which it was built, but before we strip it and spend good money after bad, we need to get to the heart of how we ended up with this mess in the first place and whether it can ever be fit for purpose again.

"This was the national monument to the spooks at the height of the war on terror and now we've got a complete mess and debacle. Not only is it not fit for purpose in terms of intelligence operations but they haven't even paid the contractors and good businesses are going to the wall under a shroud of secrecy," Senator Milne said.

Greens small business spokesperson Senator Peter Whish-Wilson said he'd been working with contractors who have not been paid for their work on the site to get answers from the government.

"An independent inquiry must look into why this contract system has failed, not only in terms of cost overruns but also that 100 good businesses have not been paid. It's simply not acceptable."


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