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Australian Home Affairs official warns of 'apocalyptic' security threats

Australian Home Affairs official warns of 'apocalyptic' security threats

<p id="content">The Secretary of Australia's Department of Home Affairs Michael Pezzullo has called for a rethink of the national security strategy to account for extreme weather, climate change and pandemic.

In a speech to the National Security College in Canberra on Tuesday, Pezzullo said that security can no longer be thought of as only defence from armed attacks, Xinhua news agency reported.

Pezzullo provided a list of 25 security threats including nuclear conflict, cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure, climate change and natural disasters.

"This is an apocalyptic list to be sure," he said.

"Complacency is certainly not warranted in the face of this register, but nor is an existentially pessimistic fatalism. An exaggerated sense of danger is positively harmful, as is the over application of threats. Over-arming the state is as great a danger as under-powering it."

He said the "extended state" was required whereby all tiers of government, business and wider society would form an extended security partnership.

"Today, one of the most vital security practices in the face of the threat of COVID-19 is handwashing and good hand hygiene, a measure which is as far removed from the appearance and character of a complex weapon system, and yet of more importance to the current security of the population than every weapon in our armed forces," Pezzullo said.

"However, a view of security which is concerned exclusively with the administration of violence does not assist us to prepare for other dilemmas which might impinge on civil peace, such as a global pandemic, or a potentially catastrophic geomagnetic storm which could well occur on a scale which would render most electrified technologies inoperable."