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Keeping Australia Safe is arguably the most ambitious observational documentary series ever undertaken in Australia. More than 24 government and private institutions granted privileged access for cameras to record their operations over the same 48-hour period.

The entire six-part series was shot in two days – revealing what it takes to protect our national and personal security while asking the central question: “What are the real costs?” The series is created by ITV, the team behind the Logie Award nominated Keeping Australia Alive, in association with the ABC and Screen Australia.

While we’re at work, at school or living out the Australian lifestyle who is watching our backs? How real are the threats that we read about every day? Is the sophistication of crime in 2017 matched by the sophistication of policing? With ‘cybercrime’ and ‘terrorism’ on the lips of politicians and police spokespeople, what is the changing face of security in 2017?

$35 billion from the Federal Budget is committed to defence. Hundreds of millions of dollars goes to law and order. But does perception match reality? Are the national, state and community resources being directed at real threats or is the ‘hype’ overshadowing our awareness and understanding of what it really takes to keep Australia safe?

The series explores what it takes, on a daily basis, to protect our nation as well as our personal safety, through first person storytelling by those on the frontline of the state police, the Australian Federal Police, the army, navy, air force, Australian Border Force, corrections, the courts, and community groups working within crime prevention or offender rehabilitation. Our cameras are there as these people face real challenges hour on hour, over one continuous 48-hour period.

There are four different and vastly contrasting subjects dealt with in each of the six one-hour episodes. These stories might range from a frontline military operation in Afghanistan, to the plight of a mother trying to keep her drug-recovering son out of jail to a day in the life of a husband/wife police team in remote Western Australia.

From those trying to find beds for victims of domestic abuse, to an insider’s view of the National Security Hotline (where Australians phone in tip-offs about suspicious behaviour) to the daily dilemmas faced by a magistrate in the Northern Territory’s Youth Justice Court (amid a Royal Commission into juvenile detention).

This landmark series shows, first hand, the work and intelligence that goes into protecting everyone from at-risk youths and the homeless, to a sports mad crowd on a Friday night. And it raises questions about where our money is being committed, where the hidden problems are, and whether our protection (and vigilance) about terrorism on home soil is based on fact or fear.

The series will seek to answer: Is Australia safe? Do we feel safe? Are the threats we face real or perceived? Are we putting the right resources into the right areas? And what is the cost, other than money, of keeping Australia safe?


Keeping Australia Safe - Narrated by Chris Bath, new six-part factual series premieres Tuesday, 7 November at 8.30pm on ABC & ABC iview

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