SUBJECT/S: Anzac Day, Gallipoli
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Anzac Day is arguably Australia's sacred day. It doesn't matter if you're of any faith or none, it is a day where the whole nation stops to reflect upon the courage of young Australian men 104 years ago and all of the service by all of the women and men of the Defence Forces and their families since then.
And of course, we celebrate Anzac Day and dawn services commemorating the landings at Gallipoli all around Australia, at RSLs in big cities and small towns. And we celebrate and commemorate it on foreign fields. That is why it's deeply concerning of reports of a violent Islamist extremist who's been arrested we are told, because they were planning a terrorist act against people commemorating the landings at Gallipoli. This is deeply concerning. I'd urge Australians who have family overseas - and indeed Australians travelling overseas - to please check with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade travel advisory. It is currently advising a high level of caution for people there.
I've asked for security briefings and they'll be coming in hours or in the next day. I understand our security agencies are doing everything they can.
One thing I would say though is that this world should have no tolerance for violent extremism; violent Islamic extremism or violent extremism from any quarter. What we can't let it do is discourage the marvellous tradition of young Australians, in particular, but Australians travelling to the battlefields where Australians have fallen in previous conflicts.
We should be proud of our identity as Australians. We should be proud of our history. We should learn about the sacrifice. We've always got to maintain very high caution. The world can be a dangerous place, as we've seen so tragically most recently in Sri Lanka. But I for one love the fact that so many younger Australians in particular are coming with dawn services in numbers unseen. I was talking to Vietnam veterans. We've learned a lot from the shoddy and shameful way we treated those veterans so I think we want to encourage people to still understand our history and the sacrifice. But at every stage, we have to maintain the utmost care.
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, can we ask you about your thoughts on the news that one of the Sri Lankan bombers appears to have studied in Australia?
SHORTEN: Listen, today is not a day for politics. We don't know much more than what we've heard on the news. I think today, I'd like to confine my remarks to ANZAC Day. And of course, just encourage Australians who have family members travelling, check with the DFAT, check with your family, but we've just got to proceed with caution and care.
JOURNALIST: Just quickly, how do you reflect on the fact that this seems to be the new-norm, that you've got an ANZAC Day service and ANZAC Day services that are under threat from alleged extremists and Islamists?
SHORTEN: I think that Australians can make a choice about the world. We can make a choice that it's too scary, we should never leave home, that it is too confronting and too difficult to navigate. I don't have that view. Just because there are terrorists in the world, we can't let them win by discouraging our young people from travelling. I've got teenagers, they're not quite at the age of travelling overseas, but I imagine in the next couple of years they will. I hope they do. We're going to try and teach them to be as careful as they can. But Anzac Day, as I said, is a sacred day. We can't afford to let these extremists discourage us. On the other hand, we've got to maintain the utmost care. And that's why I for one, am grateful that we live in a country with such capable security services, police services and Defence services.
SUBJECT/S: Anzac Day, Gallipoli