Peter Moroney was introduced by PP Paul Milde.  Paul said that Peter is retired from the Police Force and had served for 17 years and retired at the rank of a Detective Sergeant.
Peter has had a long-time association with Rotary.  When he was a young officer he organised a charity bike ride that was supported by Rotary. His talk was about a joint counter terrorism investigation, which was conducted by the AFP, ASIO and the Victorian Police.  The investigation started in 2004. Peter wrote a book about the investigation which was referred to “Operation Pandanus” from an investigator’s point of view. He felt the beginning of the effect of terrorism on our own homelands was Sept 11, 2001. His talk, to a great extent was about Islamic terrorism but he stressed that the number of actual Islamic terrorists would not number to over 50 to 100. He spoke about the Australian born terrorists who were instrumental in recruiting young individuals to fight in foreign lands for ISIS.
The operation was originally called “Operation Scribbleygum” and it was changed to “Pandenis”  as Scribbleygum was considered a little light for such a serious operation. There were a dozen suspects from both Sydney and Melbourne under investigation. He identified a number of radical Islamic religious leaders in Melbourne and Sydney that openly preached hatred toward the West. The police were monitoring these suspected terrorists in every way they could … their phones, their homes, etc.  Then late in 2004, the investigation took a more ominous and serious phase, when the suspects began to acquire large amounts of explosive material and detonating devices.  Previous to this, all of their activity were just talk and now it had turn to an active plan. The suspects organised a trip for a week to a remote spot where they hired that area under fake credentials and paid for it with a fake check.  They spent their time shooting at trees because many of the young terrorists had never shot a gun before.
With the advent of the suspects having artillery and bomb materials, ASIO decided it was time to take action. The suspects were notified that they were being monitored and you would assume that it would deter them from these activities  but they became more determined to carry out their terrorist acts.
One of the terrorists went into hardware store in Melbourne and selected a large supply of batteries, small pipes and alarm clocks and tried to walk out without paying and he was arrested and this was a major breakthrough in the investigation.  All he had to do was pay for them and no one would have known. Peter said that most of these fellows were not that smart. The suspects were making bomb material and in the process of cooking it … they became sick from the odors and this was discovered through the phone taps.  The authorities in the Police force decided that action had to be taken. In November in 2004, the government gave permission and warrants were issued for 13 individuals in NSW and 15 in Victoria. The trial lasted six months  and the lawyers grew in number to approximately 40 so witnesses were their submissions before 40 lawyers. Five of the suspects pleaded guilty and another five went to trial and were found guilty and received sentences from 12 to 28 years.
He concluded by saying that Islamic Terrorism is minute in this country and this joint effort was not an attack on Islam but an attack on Terrorism.
Mark Hillis gave a vote of thanks.