ASM December/January 2012


“A leader is someone who steps back from the entire system and tries to build a more collaborative, more innovative system that will work over the long term.” – Robert Reich, American Economist.

It is a privilege to be concluding 2011 as ASM Editor and may I take this opportunity to wish all our readers and supporters a safe and very merry Christmas and New Year. It is a time to appreciate the many frontline security officers and their cyber counterparts who continue to keep our streets and networks safe during the festive season. We look forward to an outstanding 2012 and all the challenges and opportunities each new year brings.

Australian security agencies around the country have had an intense 2011, with two separate British Royal visits, US Presidential visit, Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and a host of other formal federal and state political and business delegations visiting around the country. The wider general public and mainstream media often fail to appreciate the amount of logistical skill required to pull off a successful security operation for the scale and range of special events, as seen this year in Australia. The country’s previous reference event was APEC 2007 so it had been sometime. Despite a myriad of low risk and low consequence breaches, all major events held in this country were a success and serious incident free. No doubt complacency should never set in, but much of this success can be attributed to the emergence of plural policing efforts. The partnerships between law enforcement agencies and the private security industry was particularly highlighted for CHOGM Perth. In this edition, we detail the relationships formed between police and industry as a result of the momentous event. These relationships can be seen replicated around the country and often do not receive the recognition they deserve. As it happens, we are promoting the work of the Australian Security Medal Foundation and encourage readers to consider who they could nominate for unique recognition as offered by the ASMF National Security Award.

As CHOGM drew to a close, the expected ‘unexpected ‘ incident did happen and well done to the CHOGM Taskforce if they had this scenario on their risk register. Qantas Airways grounded its entire international and domestic fleet. As widely reported, the action was part of ongoing industrial disputes which had been affecting flight schedules for weeks. The ‘pebble in the pond’ effect of the shutdown was instantaneous and affected 70,000 passengers worldwide.

The incident triggered immediate federal government intervention to get planes back in the air. In this magazine, we take interest in the supply chain and business continuity implications. But consider, the airline industry was not the only industry shut down in 2011. Another was the ban on the Indonesian live cattle export trade, following animal cruelty revelations aired on ABC’s Four Corners. Once again, an industry shut down overnight without notice.

The resilience of the broader  Australian market to sustain this type of market uncertainty also raises important questions about the resilience of Australian businesses to survive these events and in some cases, these events severely impact on costs and risk to business. There is a host of interdependent industries and with the collapse of one will naturally drag down others, often resulting in the activation of business continuity plans and business survival techniques.

In a volatile or uncertain business environment, security management will come to play a critical role in keeping organisations secure and able to sufficiently defend and mitigate against cyber attacks, physical incidents and natural disasters. There is also a great deal of reliance on the private security industry to assist with containment and safety during these periods, in particular during industrial disputes or industry upheaval.  For organisations operating in the wider Asia Pacific, these issues are just as prevalent and critical.

With the importance of the security industry clear. We are doggedly continuing our focus on our political representatives around the country . In this issue we present the views of four state Shadow Police Ministers on the issue of a national licensing regime. Professor Rick Sarre also provides an important peer reviewed article on National Licensing and Legislation Issues.

As Australia enters 2012, the world is at risk to a worsening European economic crisis and the Asia Pacific will be a focus for global economic and geo-political activity. There is a great deal that will affect the Australian and Asia Pacific security risk environment. We also begin the countdown to 2014 G20 Summit and the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018. We trust our political and industry leaders have the right foresight and begin to work together for a common purpose of betterment of the industry. National security licensing needs to get onto the political agenda.

Once again, we hope this issue of ASM has demonstrated the breadth of the security profession and the challenges the industry faces. I encourage you to visit the new ASM website ( and begin to enjoy MySecurity TV. Our interviews with industry experts and leading vendors  is increasingly gaining momentum around Australia and Asia Pacific.

Enjoy the read and I welcome and look forward to hearing your feedback. See you again in 2012.

Yours sincerely,
Chris Cubbage.