Now, Indians may face brunt of new 'harassing' Oz anti-terror laws on arrival

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Canberra (Australia), Feb.23 (ANI): Indians and other foreign travellers may now think twice about travelling, visiting or staying in Australia after that country's government introduced new anti-terrorism measures in White paper today.

The government has not yet named the countries that could be targetted, but security sources say it includes Indonesia, India, Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan.

Sources and experts warned that Australia could face a diplomatic backlash over the new anit-terror measures that will cost the federal governmnt 69 million dollars to implement, but Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said that efforts are on to avoid a diplomatic fall-out.

Under the program, citizens from 10 nations will be fingerprinted and have their faces scanned as part of rigorous biometric checks on travellers seeking visas to Australia. Applicants will also be photographed and fingerprinted in their home country before a visa is issued.

"There may well be a diplomatic effort required in respect of some of those countries as you would expect," Foreign Minister Stephen Smith told reporters on Tuesday.

Australia is already facing troubles in its relationship with India because of the violence inflicted on some Indian nationals in Melbourne.

And any split with Indonesia would once again damage the fragile relationship with Australia's largest near neighbour.

The new terror measure was included in the long delayed Counter-Terrorism White Paper, which warned of an increasing domestic terrorist threat.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd warned the threat from terrorism was "permanent" and "persistent".

He said a terrorist attack could occur at any time.

Rudd said there had been some success with counter terrorism efforts in South-East Asia, Afghanistan and Pakistan, but this has been offset by newer areas of concern such as Somalia and Yemen."

Terrorism expert Clive Williams condemned the paper as "predictable", saying it had been released to divert media attention from embattled Environment Minister Peter Garrett and the failed home insulation scheme.

Australian National University academic Michael McKinley also slammed the paper.It's bollocks," he told AAP.

The NSW Civil Liberties Council warned of the increasing threat to privacy from such measures.

"I am very concerned that these things pose an ever increasing invasion of privacy," council president Cameron Murphy told AAP. (ANI)

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