Ask Pine Gap for help to stop breach of COVID rules: Lambley


Pine Gap. Photo by FELICITY RUBY.

The US spy base Pine Gap should be asked to provide “geo surveillance” to assist police detecting illegal drivers on bush roads to biosecurity designated areas who are breaking quarantine rules put in place to combat COVID-19.
Territory Alliance Member for Araluen Robyn Lambley (pictured) says in a letter to Chief Minister Michael Gunner and others: “It is widely understood that one of the key functions of Pine Gap is to gather geolocational intelligence used in defence.
“This technology could be used to protect Australia during the Coronavirus pandemic, and specifically the NT in policing our remote designated areas.
“It is widely known that people are avoiding COVID-19 biosecurity check points and thus, mandatory quarantining, by using bush tracks when travelling back to their remote NT communities.
“Despite the best efforts by the NT Police Service, it is impossible to provide biosecurity check points on every bush track to stop this.”
Mrs Lambley says the Pine Gap Joint Defence Facility, located 19 kilometres from the town, has been a part of the Alice Springs community since 1988, with staff and their families comprising about 6% of the population of Alice Springs.
“The facility has always been a good corporate citizen of Alice Springs,” she says.
“Now is the time to call upon the Pine Gap, with their extensive expertise and resources, to assist the NT, and possibly other Australian jurisdictions, in securing our remote COVID-19 biosecurity designated areas.”
UPDATE 11.30am April 11
Mrs Lambley says the Police Commissioner “responded to my letter promptly yesterday saying that essentially they have this problem under control and it is not a big as what people say.
Police are already working with the ADF and with DAAC processes. I have asked for clarification what these are.
The Commissioner did not comment on the idea of working with Pine Gap to provide more comprehensive surveillance.


  1. Great idea, Robyn.
    It makes good sense to utilise whatever technology we have at our disposal to help counter this World War ‘C’ influence around our jurisdiction.
    Whilst the NT Government, NGOs and safe-minded people have been able to (so far) minimise the contagion spread, communal transmission would be devastating to our most vulnerable Territorians (aged, infirm, homeless, those with chronic health conditions, living in economic and social poverty) if it were to occur.
    We must, in a whole-of-community response, do everything within our collective power to halt the spread and mitigate the collateral damage as best we can.
    Thanks for the idea, Robyn.

  2. I’m sorry, but I disagree with the Police Commissioner.
    Anyone who is outside Alice Springs at the moment is fully aware of the many many residents of communities who do not believe that they have to abide by any of the rules the rest of us are adhering to.
    The community members themselves will be the ones responsible for any outbreaks inside their communities AND putting the rest of us at risk.
    Any support in identifying those who think they are above the law, should be used.

  3. It is hard to reconcile Pine Gap as a good corporate citizen with its function in the US war machine.
    Pine Gap plays a key role in US drone strikes often taking place outside of declared war zones, in places such as Yemen.
    These strikes have killed hundreds of civilians, and some are considered by human rights advocates to constitute war crimes and violations of international law.
    Ask Pine Gap to use their targeting technology to track Australia citizens, and particularly Aboriginal people in remote communities?
    That would resonate down the ages as an unfortunate precedent and milestone in race relations.

  4. “Mrs Lambley says the Police Commissioner ‘responded to my letter promptly yesterday saying that essentially they have this problem under control and it is not a big as what people say’.”
    I wonder how long the commissioner has been in Central Australia and if he is a bush man.
    Has he driven, ridden or walked all the tracks in and around The Centre?
    I hope he is correct in his assessment, because if he is not, he will carry the outcome of his decision forever.

  5. The naivety of this suggestion, and the comments astounds me.
    The secrecy bullshit, and the supposed anonymity of the US and Australian agencies involved in Pine Gap would absolutely preclude any local data collection.
    I am sure that the “cover story” promulgated would again prevent any surveillance of Aussie citizens.
    (Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure they could do it, but the diplomatic nightmare would be worse than COVID.)
    Remember, this is the “Joint Space Defence Research Facility”.
    Surveil tracks around Alice? Shock horror!

  6. Charlie Carter. Minister Gareth “Biggles” Evans earned his nickname during the Franklin Dam battle for flying RAAF surveillance missions over Tasmania.
    He never lived it down.
    The Police Commissioner has saved Robyn Lambley from a similar fate.

  7. Is anyone else marveling at the surveillance state we are being sleepwalked into? Go here, don’t go there, do this, don’t do that, and all the while we cower under our beds waiting for the Corona Man to come coughing.
    And it was all rolled out so easily, almost as if it was waiting on a shelf all ready to go.
    Yankee spies patrolling our back roads?
    Corona Time!

  8. @ Hal Duell. On communities long before Corona Man we had Stigmatise Man and Stereotype Man.
    We’ve been sleep-walked towards the Twilight Zone of Corona Time for ages.
    So, yes Hal, you’re not alone in “marvelling” at what is happening.


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