The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP

Media Release

FA145 - 27 November 2003

New Passports to Boost National Security

In ongoing efforts to bolster Australia's national security, I am pleased today to launch our new tamper-resistant passport.

It will be the most secure Australian passport ever produced.

The new M series passport is the result of years of development by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and its business partners. It improves the security of the document and its production process.

The new passports will be available to the public progressively from 1 December.

The new tamper-resistant passport incorporates state-of-the-art technology to help curb identity fraud and possible misuse by people smugglers, terrorists and other transnational criminals.

The passport's theme is "from the desert to the sea". The data page features "floating" kangaroos which appear to hop up and down when the page is moved. The laminate, designed by the 3M company, is virtually impossible to replicate.

This feature will make the document recognisable around the world as a genuine Australian passport.

Another obvious change is the repositioning of the data page which is no longer on the front cover. The new passport has a stand-alone, tamper-resistant data page.

The M series was designed and manufactured by Note Printing Australia. Quality-assurance equipment will be supplied by a small ACT-based company, Dynjab. Another Australian company, Alphawest, will provide IT support.

Another innovation is the new secure central production facility operated by my Department at the Royal Australian Mint. When the public lodge their passport applications at Australia Post or passport offices in Australia and overseas, the data will be transferred electronically to the Mint facility or smaller similar facilities in London and Washington.

The launch of the M-series passport and centralised passport production facility complement the tougher proof-of-identity and name change requirements introduced on the new passport application form issued in September.

Media enquiries: Chris Kenny (Ministers office) (02) 6277 7500 - Julie McDonald (Departmental) (02) 6261 1555

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