Peter (pictured with Darren Verus [on left] and Fred Loneragan [on right]) is the author of Terrorism in Australia. The Story of Operation Pendennis.

Peter provided a broad picture of the events which raised Australian awareness of the possibilities of terrorism, namely the September 2001 attacks in the USA and the Bali bombings in 2002 (where 88 Australians died).
Operation Pendennis was set up as a joint operation of the Victorian and NSW Police Forces and the Australian Federal Police. A small number of  members of the Islamic community resident in Australia had come under suspicion and hence surveillance, which was heightened in July 2004 when diagrams of how to set off bombs using mobile phones were downloaded.

Other indications for police concern included apparent training in using fire arms at remote rural properties, the clandestine purchase of laboratory equipment and chemicals under false names, the downloading of instructional material on hiding explosives in PVC and the use of false phones and coded messages.

ASIO worked on disruption (eg under search warrants, confiscating ammunition supplies) while the police worked on prosecution (eg gaining evidence through increased surveillance using listening devices in Victoria and NSW).

Ultimately a rapid rise in planning activity indicated it was too dangerous to wait for prosecution, so a joint operation took place. Commencing at 2am on 8 November 2005, 22 raids, under warrant, were carried out in Sydney and Melbourne. Materiel seized included distilled water, chemicals, battery acid, detonators, a set of instructions for Westfield Shopping Centre, evidence of coded communication between terrorists
using specific phones and graphic and distressing propaganda.

At their trials, eight men were found guilty of conspiring to prepare to commit an act of terrorism and received prison sentences of varying lengths, up to 28 years for the main protagonists. Peter emphasised that the Terrorism Investigations Squad examines all forms of potential terrorism, whether white extremists (cf recent killings at Christchurch mosque), animal activists or Islamic groups.