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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 June, 2005, 10:09 GMT 11:09 UK
Australia reviews airport security
Australian Federal Police take a decontamination shower at the Indonesian embassy in Canberra, 07 June 2005,
Suspicious packages have been sent to the Indonesian embassy
Australia has announced a major review of security at its airports.

Staff will undergo new background checks and those with criminal convictions could be sacked.

The government has recently been under pressure to improve airport security after allegations that baggage handlers were involved in drug smuggling.

Australian woman Schapelle Corby blamed handlers for planting cannabis in her luggage, after she was caught with the drugs in the Indonesian island of Bali.

Despite widespread support in Australia, she was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison by an Indonesian court last month.

The new airport review will "examine the threat from serious and organised crime at airports, the integration of ground-based security and law enforcement arrangements and the adequacy of the existing security requirements," the government said in a statement.

Schapelle Corby in court - 27/5/05
Corby's case has angered many Australians

British security expert Sir John Wheeler, who has already examined measures at British airports, will head the review.

Embassy alert

Popular anger at Corby's jailing was also believed to be behind a suspicious package that sparked a security alert on Tuesday at the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra - less than a week after a similar package arrived.

Both contained white powder which analysts tested for anthrax - but both proved to be harmless.

Corby's lawyers have warned that the people sending the packages are not helping her case.

Negotiations began in Jakarta this week for a prisoner exchange treaty that could enable Corby to serve her jail term in Australia.

But Australia's junior foreign minister, Bruce Billson, warned that such a treaty would take months to organise.


SEE ALSO:
Australians quash bacteria fear
09 Jun 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Australian guilty on drugs charge
27 May 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Australia's Corby in mercy plea
28 Apr 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Australia's Howard reaches out to Asia
08 Apr 05 |  Asia-Pacific


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