Home' InDaily : June 17th 2010 Contents Vol21No5June2010|5
Explosives research could finger terrorists
Peroxide used in London bombings
New techniques for tracking bomb-making
materials, and possibly pointing the way
towards the terrorists themselves, are
being researched at Flinders University.
University, defence and government officials
discussed the latest developments in this
field at a recent National Security Research
Information University Workshop, organised
by the Department of Prime Minister and
Cabinet and hosted by the University.
Organic peroxides are increasingly being
used as the explosive of choice by terrorists
because they can be easily prepared and do
not require 'off the shelf purchases' which
run the risk of detection.
However, researchers at Flinders have
found that tell-tale evidence can be tracked
through material which has survived the
explosion and can point to the source
material which could be a substance like
hydrogen peroxide that is used, amongst
other purposes, by hairdressers as bleach.
Associate Professor Stewart Walker,
Associate Professor in Forensic and
Analytical Chemistry at Flinders University,
said bombs based on organic peroxides
-- which were used in the London transit
system bombings in 2005 and the foiled
plot to destroy trans-Atlantic airliners in
2006 -- could contain impurities in the
"starter material" that can be used to
identify the source of the explosive.
"These impurities may serve as markers for
the identification of the starting materials
and batches of explosives for evidence or
intelligence purposes, in a similar manner
to that established for illicit drug analysis,"
Associate Professor Walker told
"Identifying the starter material gives you
an opportunity to find a chemical
fingerprint which could then lead you to a
source of that material or establish a
pattern of use which could also help
identify the user," he said.
"The research being undertaken at Flinders
has the potential to make a contribution
towards fighting the war on terror."
The workshop also heard from Flinders
researchers who are developing
Autonomous Underwater Vehicles that
could improve the success rates of
operations such as those currently
underway to plug the oil leak in the
Gulf of Mexico.
Molecular Technologies Research Cluster
Mr Paul Kenny
Within its 1300 pages and 138
recommendations, the Henry review of
taxation provides current and future
governments with a blueprint to broaden
the national tax base and to substantially
increase revenue, according to Mr Paul Kenny,
lecturer in the Flinders Business School.
What happens next is up to the politicians.
"It leaves lots of choices up to the
government of the day," Mr Kenny said.
Henry's menu for broader tax raises questions
With growing health costs associated with
the ageing population and other rising
infrastructure costs, Mr Kenny said there is
a strong argument that increased taxes are
needed to improve public goods and
services, or simply to maintain them. He
sees the resource super profits tax, even
with returns through reduced company
tax, as a signal of the government's
intentions to increase revenue.
There are still fundamental questions to be
decided about what sort of publicly funded
system Australia is willing to underwrite,
Mr Kenny said.
"When we look to other OECD countries,
does the community want superb health
and social security systems like the
Scandanavian countries or are we content
with something that more closely
resembles the US?"
Mr Kenny said that Australia has had a
fairly constant tax rate in terms of
percentage of GDP, but he believes a higher
rate, achieved through means such as the
mining super tax, would be acceptable to
most people if it produced better
Mr Kenny does concede that the super tax
may temporarily make Australia less
competitive against other countries, but
believes that the international situation
will even out over time.
At the other end of the tax scale, Mr Kenny
said the government's acceptance of the
recommendation to introduce standard
deductions for workers was "a winner",
bringing much needed simplification by
eliminating thousands of people from an
overly complex system. But there are still
major issues for Australia's taxation
system, Mr Kenny said.
"Why, for instance, are we still giving
millions and millions of dollars in tax
concessions and exemptions to high
income earners? In effect, they are
undermining the system, and this has a
cascading effect with everyone else in the
system trying to minimise their tax. We
need to change the culture, and means
testing concessions would seem a good
place to start."
Links Archive June 16th 2010 June 18th 2010 Navigation Previous Page Next Page