Australia has joined thirty other countries on the British Foreign Office list of countries running the risk of terror attacks. Britain says that Australia’s risk level is “high”, which is the highest threat level. Other countries with the same risk levels are Afghanistan, Libya, Kenya, Pakistan, Iraq, Spain and France.
While this shocking list might seem to serve as a warning for Brits to avoid going to Australia at all costs, Monash University terrorism expert Professor Greg Barton said the threat for Australia would relate to so-called lone wolf attacks, rather than large-scale terrorist attacks.
The UK’s travel advice for Australia says that “since then there have been a number of attacks and disruptions linked to ISIL-inspired terrorism.”
“We do know we’ve had at least four thwarted attacks over the last 12 months – that would have entered into the UK’s analysis,” Professor Barton said.
It does not warn British travellers against visiting Australia.
“Given that we know of at least four and this assessment might have other information…you’d have to assume that this is not a random designation, this is something fairly specific,” continued Barton.
Barton reiterated that the risk level should be interpreted as it was intended which is serving as a tool for British high commissions and consulates and not as a holiday planning guide.
“Common sense would suggest if you were contemplating a holiday at the moment, you wouldn’t go to Libya but you’d be entirely sensible to consider a holiday to Australia,” he said.
The United States and China were deemed a lower risk, receiving the second-highest warning of a “general threat”, while large parts of Europe were deemed as having an underlying threat or low threat.
“It’s nonsensical to think that they’re comparable.
“But clearly they’ve considered Australia is at greater risk of lone wolf attacks than the US and that is significant.”
Australia too has warned citizen’s against traveling to certain countries for fear of Australians becoming the targets of international terror attacks.
In September last year, Australia raised it’s terror alert level from medium to high, meaning an attack is considered likely.