News from Fortress Australia

A national meeting of defence chiefs and senior police has approved the distribution of beacons, life vests and ration packs to householders in major population centres. And in other news:

•Treasurer Peter Costello has announced an unanticipated budget allocation for the fitting of high-decibel alarms and security shields (similar to those used in banks) to driver’s cabins in all buses, trains and trams.

•Announcing the immediate issue of gas masks to all Australian residents over the age of 16 weeks, Defence Minister Robert Hill today urged complete calm.

•Prime Minister John Howard has announced that major newspapers will shortly carry full-page instructions on simple ways of eating, exercising and sleeping without the need to remove protective bodysuits.

“We should be alert but not alarmed,” he said. “And none of these precautions will prevent Australians from going about their daily lives as they always have, provided they cooperate fully with authorities when entering or leaving any public building, shopping area or sporting venue.”


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