The new procedure is part of increased security and counter-terrorism measures following the July bombings in London. The opera house is considered a likely terrorist target.
After September 1, visitors may be subjected to examinations of their hats, coats, and shoes, and may also be asked to submit to electronic scans and car searches. Refusing to comply with these requests will be result in the visitor being asked to leave, or being removed from the venue.
The opera house would not specify what would initiate a search of a visitor, but made assurances that it would act only on reasonable grounds of suspicion, and that security staff would being very carefully trained.
Norman Gillespie, the opera house's chief executive, said, "We are certain that the changes—which are about being prepared for a range of contingencies—won't interfere with patrons' enjoyment."
At the same time, others are worried about the abridgement of privacy and the possibility of racial profiling. Cameron Murphy, president of the New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties, said, "We need to take reasonable steps to secure important public institutions like the opera house, but not by railroading people's basic human rights."