They may not look like fortresses from the outside but Anthony Albanese’s new homes, The Lodge and Kirribilli House, are the most secure properties in the country, bristling with hidden defences.
Nervous Australian Federal Police officers are understood to be relieved the new Prime Minister has finally shifted his base of operations from his Marrickville abode, which was bluntly described by one of the country’s leading security consultants as a ‘nightmare’ for his protection detail.
Michael Brookes-Jones, the former program director of the Iraqi secret service, was in charge of security for nine palaces from 2004 to 2010. He oversaw 9,600 bodyguards and the travel arrangements of ministers.
Mr Brookes-Jones said Australia’s official residences – the Lodge, a stone’s throw from Parliament House in Canberra; and Kirribilli House, metres from Sydney’s Harbour Bridge – are unequivocally the most secure properties in Australia.
At least two armed AFP officers are on guard inside the homes at all times – even when the PM is not there.
Meanwhile, a five-man assault team is on stand-by 24/7 on the grounds or next door in case of an incident.
The Lodge and Kirribilli House, are the most secure properties in the country, bristling with hidden defences
The newly-minted prime minister (pictured), still riding high from his historic election win, had been seen stepping out of his front door in plain view of the public wearing pyjamas 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 governing the country from Marrickville proved 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 the houses, it would only be concealed handguns, you wouldn’t see any long guns in the residence,’ Mr Brookes-Jones told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Albanese wouldn’t want to see guys with guns … so everything would be very low key inside.’
Outside of the homes is a very different story.
A crack ‘fire team’ is equipped with full tactical gear including long arms, sniper rifles, breaching chargers and full medical capability.
If there’s an elevated threat Australia’s most elite domestic counter-terrorism unit – TAG East – can be called in.
The 2nd Commando Regiment’s Tactical Assault Group for the east coast is one of the most highly trained units in the world and focuses primarily on ‘direct action and hostage recovery’.
On the outer perimeter – at gates, fences and lookout points – private security guards are also hired to monitor suspicious activity.
Pictured: The foyer at The Lodge in Canberra officially know as the prime minister’s address while in office
At least two armed AFP officers are on guard inside the homes at all times – even when the PM is not there. Pictured: The dining room at The Lodge in Canberra
A host of other measures – aside from firepower – are also utilised to protect the official residences.
Regular Technical Surveillance Counter Measure (TSCM) sweeps are constantly carried out by security teams to stop the threat of ‘bugs and ease-dropping devices’.
Food poisoning and explosives checks also take place.
‘They would have hydraulic bollards to stop ram raids on the front gate and it would have a complex CCTV network around the entire premises,’ Mr Brookes-Jones said.
‘Certainly every entry and exit point which someone would be watching live from a control room.’
‘There is no barb wire because it’s aesthetically displeasing, but they do have high walls to protect against a vehicular assault – where a car rams through the wall.
‘Any baggage or deliveries would go through a bomb detection scanner and visitors will all be physically searched for weapons.’
Regular Technical Surveillance Counter Measure (TSCM) sweeps are constantly carried out by security teams to stop the threat of ‘bugs and ease-dropping devices’: Pictured: Kirribilli House
An offsite five-man assault team is on stand-by 24/7 on the grounds or next door in case of an incident. Pictured: The morning room at The Lodge in Canberra
Before the move, the newly-minted prime minister, still riding high from his historic election win, had been seen stepping out of his front door in plain view of the public wearing pyjamas.
Donning Ugg boots, a retro Newtown Jets jersey and Peter Alexander pants featuring cute cartoon rabbits, the relatable photos captured a rare glimpse into the down-to-earth leader’s life.
But not everyone shared the light-hearted sentiment. Those tasked with protecting Mr Albanese were worried his modest house was too exposed for a world leader.
Officially, ‘the AFP does not comment on protective security arrangements’, but Mr Brookes-Jones told Daily Mail Australia that trying to secure the PM’s Marrickville house would be a ‘nightmare’.
Michael Brookes-Jones was program director of the Iraqi secret service was in charge of security for nine palaces from 2004 to 2010, overseeing 9,600 bodyguards and the travel arrangements of ministers
Brookes-Jones is pictured with in Baghdad protecting former Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari
Mr Albanese on Saturday revealed he will be living at The Lodge in Canberra rather than staying at Kirribilli House in Sydney.
The move was a surprise to many who expected the PM 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 vacate the premises after the election.
Mr Morrison has already begun to move his possessions to The Lodge and will return to his new home after returning from his trip to Indonesia later this week.