22nd March 2009, Qantas Flight 430 arrived at Sydney Airport at 1.30pm. On board, passengers were aware of a group of men exchanging threats mid flight & texting backup on the ground. Awaiting to collect a passenger was 29yr old, Anthony Zervas.
An unprovoked brawl erupted in the terminal area and by 1.45pm, Anthony was brutally bashed in plain view of Security Officers and terrified passengers. He died shorty afterwards.There were 22 police officers on duty at the airport that day.
The Howard government commissioned British expert John Wheeler to review airport security in 2005 after reports in The Australian exposed major breaches at Sydney airport. The inquiry found policing at the nation's airports was often "inadequate and dysfunctional".
Opposition parliamentary spokesman for justice and public security Jason Wood said airport security was still understaffed by 35 percent.
He said airport security awareness training program Operation Hawkeye, which was supposed to be implemented in 2007, had been shelved by the Rudd Government. Counter-terrorism expert Nick O'Brien said the airport incident was highly damaging.
The union representing airline check-in staff, the Australian Services Union, was instrumental in getting duress buttons installed at check-in counters because of fears of increasing violence due to air rage. But officials said staff in Sydney had not been trained in their use, and a response could take up to 20 minutes.
It is understood three duress alarms were activated by staff near the brawl, sending a message to Qantas security staff, who received confirmation from the AFP within a minute that they would dispatch a patrol.
We, the undersigned, call on:
Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland
Australia Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty
Liberal Senator Bill Heffernan
Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull
to discuss a national strategy & a senate inquiry to
1) provide better co-ordination between police and security staff at Sydney Airport;
2) provide better trained security staff;
3) improve CCTV at the Sydney Airport;
4) increase training for all airline employees in dealing with counter-terrorist activities;
to ensure that an event such as this doesn't occur again.
The Support Anthony's Law petition to Federal Law was written by Fredricka Bromwich- mother of Anthony Zervas and is in the category Law Reform at GoPetition.