Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock: "I don't think that in relation to the counter terrorism legislation, which is now being well published and well canvassed that anybody could say that we were sneaking something through in the aftermath of a Melbourne Cup race."
(Also known as Melbourne Cup Day)
Attorney-General Philip Ruddock introduced the law this afternoon following specific information about a potential terrorist threat in Australia. Prime Minister Howard said Australians should know all was being done to protect their safety.
"I ask my fellow Australians to understand that we are doing everything we can in a difficult situation to protect the public.
"I don't want to over-alarm people; equally I have said for a long time that the possibility of an attack in this country is there. That was repeated in the ASIO report.
"This is not a political issue."
(In New Zealand)
"Australian officials have confirmed that there is no imminent threat of terrorist attacks in Australia," said Prime Minister Helen Clark. "We have also been advised that the Australian general threat level has not been raised. It remains at medium. A terrorist attack is assessed as feasible and could well occur."