Australia’s Federal Police have assumed responsibility for security at Parliament House in Canberra, amid new reports of planned terrorist attacks.
Prime Minister Tony Abbot confirmed the new arrangements on Friday and said the latest threat involved targeting government people.
“There has been chatter among these networks, Mr Abbott told Channel Nine’s Today program.
“One of the first consequences of the review of security has been moves to put Australian Federal Police back in charge of internal as well as external security, he said.
“It is happening almost immediately.
News Corp reported on Friday that senior Australian intelligence sources confirmed that counter-terrorism agencies had intercepted information regarding a possible attack on Parliament House. According to the report, there are fears the parliament building had been “scoped out for a “Mumbai-style attack using automatic weapons and that the prime minister and other senior government members could be targeted.
Speaking to ABC radio on Friday morning, Mr Abbott said Parliament House had been “specifically mentioned in chatter monitored by Australian intelligence agencies.
When asked if visitors to Parliament House would be safe, Mr Abbott said: “it is a safe country but we have to be aware there are people … who would do us harm.
Mr Abbott said, following the counter-terrorism raids in Sydney and Brisbane on Thursday, that he did not want the Muslim community, or any other community, to feel isolated.
“I want to wrap up the extended family of the Australian community in an embrace. We would all be the victims of any terrorist attack in Australia, he said.
IMAGE: Parliament House in Canberra, Australia. (By Neale Cousland, Shutterstock.com)