From the outside they may not look like fortresses, but Anthony Albanese’s new homes, The Lodge and Kirribilli House, are the most secure properties in the country, bristling with hidden defenses.
Nervous Australian Federal Police officers would be relieved that the new Prime Minister has finally moved his base of operations from his residence in Marrickville, which was bluntly described by one of the country’s leading security consultants as a ” nightmare” for its protection details.
Michael Brookes-Jones, the former program director of the Iraqi secret service, was in charge of the security of nine palaces from 2004 to 2010. He supervised 9,600 bodyguards and the movements of ministers.
Mr Brookes-Jones said Australia’s official residences – the Lodge, a stone’s throw from Parliament in Canberra; and Kirribilli House, just meters from Sydney Harbor Bridge – are unequivocally the most secure properties in Australia.
At least two armed AFP officers are on guard inside the houses at all times – even when the Prime Minister is not around.
Meanwhile, a five-man assault team is on standby 24/7 on or off the field in the event of an incident.
The Lodge and Kirribilli House, are the most secure properties in the country, bristling with hidden defenses
The new Prime Minister (pictured), still on the peak of his historic election victory, had been seen coming out of his front door in public view in his pajamas to collect his daily newspapers
Nervous Australian Federal Police officers were relieved to see Anthony Albanese move into The Lodge and Kirribilli House (pictured) as ruling the country from Marrickville has proven to be a ‘security nightmare’
Australia’s official residences – The Lodge in Canberra (pictured) and Kirribilli House in Sydney – are unequivocally the most secure premises in the country and much easier to protect than a suburban home
‘In homes it would just be concealed handguns, you wouldn’t see any long guns in the residence,’ Mr Brookes-Jones told Daily Mail Australia.
“Albanians wouldn’t want to see guys with guns…so everything would be very discreet inside.”
Outside the houses, it’s a whole different story.
An elite “shooting team” is equipped with full tactical gear including long guns, sniper rifles, burst magazines and full medical capability.
If there is a high threat, Australia’s most elite national counter-terrorism unit – TAG East – can be called in.
The 2nd Commando Regiment’s East Coast Tactical Assault Group is one of the most trained units in the world and focuses primarily on “direct action and hostage recovery”.
On the outer perimeter – at gates, fences and viewpoints – private security guards are also hired to monitor suspicious activity.
Pictured: The Lodge foyer in Canberra is officially known as the Prime Minister’s address during his tenure
At least two armed AFP officers are on guard inside the houses at all times – even when the Prime Minister is not around. Pictured: The Lodge dining room in Canberra
A host of other measures – apart from firepower – are also used to protect official residences.
Regular Technical Monitoring Countermeasures (TSCM) scans are constantly performed by security teams to stop the “bugs and easy removal devices” threat.
Food poisoning and explosives checks also take place.
‘They would have hydraulic bollards to stop ram raids on the front door and there would be an intricate CCTV network around the entire premises,’ Mr Brookes-Jones said.
“Certainly any entry and exit points that someone would monitor live from a control room.”
“There’s no barbed wire because it’s aesthetically unappealing, but they have high walls to protect against vehicular assault – where a car rams the wall.
“All luggage or deliveries would pass through a bomb detection scanner and visitors would all be physically searched for weapons.”
Regular Technical Monitoring Countermeasures (TSCM) scans are constantly performed by security teams to stop the threat of ‘bugs and ease removal devices’: Pictured: Kirribilli House
A five-man off-site assault team is on standby 24/7 on or off the field in the event of an incident. Pictured: The Morning Room at The Lodge in Canberra
Before the move, the new Prime Minister, still strong from his historic election victory, was seen coming out of his front door in full view of the public in his pajamas.
Donning Ugg boots, a retro Newtown Jets jersey and Peter Alexander pants with cute cartoon bunnies, the relatable photos captured a rare glimpse into the down-to-earth leader’s life.
But not everyone shared the lighthearted sentiment. Those charged with protecting Mr Albanese feared his modest home was too exposed for a world leader.
Officially, “the AFP does not comment on the protective security arrangements”, but Mr Brookes-Jones told Daily Mail Australia that trying to secure the Prime Minister’s home in Marrickville would be a “nightmare”.
Michael Brookes-Jones was the Iraqi Secret Service’s program director and was in charge of security at nine palaces from 2004 to 2010, overseeing 9,600 bodyguards and ministers’ travel arrangements.
Brookes-Jones is pictured in Baghdad protecting former Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari
Mr Albanese revealed on Saturday that he will be living at The Lodge in Canberra rather than staying at Kirribilli House in Sydney.
The move came as a surprise to many who expected the Prime Minister to move into the Sydney residence after Mr Morrison packed up.
It comes after his predecessor was dubbed ‘Squat’ Morrison for taking 13 days to leave after the election.
Mr Morrison has already started moving his belongings to the Lodge and will return to his new home after returning from his trip to Indonesia later this week.