20 Apr 2015

Turn up to Anzac events - Abbott

5:31 pm on 20 April 2015

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has urged Australians and New Zealanders to attend Anzac services despite fears of terrorist attacks.

Mr Abbott is in Wellington on his second official tour to New Zealand and this morning attended the dedication of an Australian memorial at the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park.

The Australian leader said there would be be greater security at events in Australia and in Turkey and people should not be worried about the threat of terrorist attacks.

"The best thing Australians and New Zealanders can do is to turn up in very large numbers at Anzac events wherever they are to support our values, our interests, our armed forces.

"That's the best thing that people can do."

At the weekend, Australian counterterrorism police arrested five men in an operation in Melbourne and alleged two were planning an Islamic State-inspired terrorist attack on an Anzac Day ceremony.

Mr Abbott said the arrests confirmed that Australia's security services were working very effectively.

"We have the best police and security agencies in the world. You need them at times like this."

The New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said there may be heightened risk around Anzac commemorations, but only because there always is with large-scale, public events.

Mr Key said he hasn't received any specific advice that there could be attacks here.

The Australian Prime Minister also defended the joint training operation in Iraq.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (left) with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (left) with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

NZ, Australia security

Mr Abbott said the deployment was not simply about the security of Iraq but also about security in both New Zealand and Australia.

"This deployment to the Middle East is not just about helping people over there. It's about helping our own people too. So I am very, very proud to be standing here with Prime Minister John Key. I am very proud of our armed forces. I know John Key is very proud of New Zealand's armed forces and they will give a fine account of themselves in Iraq. They really will...

"They will be splendid, splendid, I suppose sons of Anzacs. That's what they will be over there in Iraq."

Mr Key rejected criticism that Australia and New Zealand appeared to be giving different information about the deployment.

"The timing of when the Australians actually go to Iraq, that's a matter for the Australians. It's roughly around the same time as us but they are not necessarily travelling together. So we wouldn't know exactly when the Australian forces are leaving," Mr Key said.

He said while Australia had given more information about when troops were going, the New Zealand Government had been advised to be more cautious about releasing details of when its troops would be sent.

Meanwhile, Tony Abbott said he would also be raising with the Turkish Government the issue of what more could be done to stop people, including Australians, crossing the Turkish border into Syria to fight for Islamic State.

"Australia will be doing everything we can at every level to prevent people from making that horrible, horrible trip," Mr Abbott said today.

New Zealander Karolina Dam, whose son travelled from Denmark to join Islamic State in Syria, has accused Danish authorities of not doing enough to prevent him getting to Syria.

Lukas Dam, 18, was reportedly killed at Kobane in Syria in December last year. He had crossed the border from Turkey into Syria to join the jihadist group.

Mr Key said today he would also be raising the concerns with Turkey on the border issue.

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