Melbourne (Australia): Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull today strongly condemned the UK Parliament terror attack describing it as “an attack on parliaments, freedom and democracy everywhere”.
“Australia’s heartfelt sympathy and resolute solidarity is with the people of the UK with whom we stand today as we always have in freedoms cause. Staunch allies in the war against terrorism,” Turnbull said in a statement.
“The attack on the British Parliament is an attack on parliaments, freedom and democracy everywhere,” he said adding that Westminster is rightly known as the mother of parliaments.
“We send our condolences, especially to the families of the victims, those injured, including a police officer murdered by the terrorist as he attempted to enter the Houses of Parliament,” Turnbull said.
“It is a reminder of the risk that our security agencies, our police forces, or intelligence services, and the men and women of the Australian Defence Force (ADF), the risk to their lives and safety that they take on as they defend us every day” he said.
“We owe them our deepest gratitude every day for their service in keeping us secure. The Metropolitan Police in London have confirmed that they are treating it as a terrorist attack,” he added.
“We have conveyed our condolences to the British government through the Ambassador and the High Commissioner,” Turnbull said.
He reassured that Australian agencies were working relentlessly to keep Australians safe.
“We are very alert to the vulnerabilities of places of mass gathering and the risk of lone attackers, like the perpetrator, the terrorist in London,” he said.
“Keeping Australians safe is our highest priority. It is the first duty of my government, and, indeed, every government,” he added.
Meanwhile, in Canberra the security was beefed up around the parliament house following the UK attack.
Turnbull said Australian Federal Police Commissioner has confirmed that there will be an increase in police present at Parliament house in Canberra.
“That is an appropriate response,” he said.
He mentioned that Australia was working very, very closely indeed with its allies, including the United Kingdom and the United States and many other partners around the world.
“But we must be clear-eyed about the risk. It is real and that is why the threat, the terror threat level is set at probable,” he said.
Five people were killed and 40 injured as terror struck the British capital yesterday when a man mowed down pedestrians on a bridge and stabbed a police officer outside parliament complex before being shot dead by Scotland Yard officers.