Police To Get New ID Checking Powers As Airport Security Tightens

The new powers mean Australian Federal Police can request anyone's ID at an airport and remove them from the premises if necessary.

What you need to know
  • New powers give police the ability to request ID from travellers
  • Airports will be upgraded with high-tech body scanners
  • 13 regional airports will also see a security boost

Police will be given new powers to demand identification from travellers at Australia's airports, and order them to leave before flying if they're believed to be involved in criminal activity.

The new powers mean Australian Federal Police can request anyone's ID at an airport and remove them from the premises if necessary.

A $294 million boost outlined in the budget will fund the changes. Airports will also be upgraded with high-tech X-ray body scanning machines and 3D imaging tech, all in the name of ramping up the fight on terrorism.

The government is tightening security at airports. Image: AAP.

"We do live in dangerous times," Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters on Tuesday.

"The threat from terrorism is very real. And while our security forces and intelligence agencies and police have disrupted and thwarted 14 terrorist plots, we cannot ever be complacent," he said.

Turnbull said regardless of foiling past plots, the danger of Islamic State and other terrorist groups remains. Upping security aims to ensure all passengers travelling to and from Australia are safe.

The new police powers come after terrorist plots have been disrupted -- in July last year, a passenger attempted to board an Etihad A380 with explosive devices concealed inside a meat grinder and a Barbie doll, but was stopped during a luggage check.

"If that was successful, it would have an enormous impact on the psyche of the Australian travelling public, and on our brand, on international students, on tourism," Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said.

Dutton said that liquids and explosive devices are of particular concern to the government and the AFP.  For this reason, the security crackdown will include 13 regional airports across the country, as well as major city airports.

Greens Senator Nick McKim said demanding people produce documents on the spot is a hallmark of police states.

“People should be free to live without arbitrary harassment and being forced to carry ID wherever they go,” he said.

“This is the slow march of authoritarianism. It starts in airports – how long until it’s random checks on the streets or in people’s homes?"

“Dutton has repeatedly demonstrated he can’t be trusted with the powers he already has.”

There will be 190 new AFP personnel across major airport around Australia as security tightens