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Australian senator brings fake bomb to parliament

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image captionThe change in security procedures at Parliament House was to cut costs, the committee was told

An Australian senator has brought a fake pipe bomb into a committee meeting in parliament to illustrate how lax security has become.

Senator Bill Heffernan, from the governing Liberal Party, said security at parliament was "a joke".

Previously, everyone who entered Parliament House in the capital, Canberra, had to undergo security checks.

However, some pass holders are no longer scanned under the new system.

Mr Heffernan, 71, held up a metal pipe and objects resembling sticks of dynamite from inside a shopping bag as he addressed the senate committee meeting on Monday.

He said even those with security clearance posed a danger.

"When I was a kid, we used to blow stumps out on the farm - 50 years ago," he said. "We could blow a tree the size of this building out of the ground.

"At the present time, there is nothing to stop anyone from bringing those ingredients in here over a period of time through security."

The chief of the Australian Federal Police, Tony Negus, who was at the hearing, said: "Under the current arrangements, that is a risk, yes."

He later told the committee that Mr Heffernan informed him that he intended to use the pipe as a prop "in some sort of demonstration" and he was satisfied that the pipe was inert.

The other senators, however, were not informed.

One reason for the security procedure change, which was introduced just this month at Parliament House, was to cut costs, the committee was told.

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