Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull insists Australians are safe despite the Anzac Day eve arrest of a Sydney teenager accused of planning a terrorist attack.
“We are a very strong and resilient country, inspired by the Anzac spirit,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra on Monday.
“We take great care in ensuring that Australians are safe at all times and on every day.”
The Australian-born 16-year-old has been charged with trying to obtain a firearm between April 23 and 24 at Auburn in Sydney’s west, in preparation for a terrorist act, court documents reveal.
He was arrested near his Auburn home on Sunday and will face court on Tuesday.
Justice Minister Michael Keenan described the plot as “chilling”, admitting he was concerned about Anzac Day services being the target of terror attacks.
“It’s very disturbing when Australians are out there commemorating what is a very important national day for us, some people would think that’s an appropriate time to target those services – I’m very worried about that,” he said.
But he urged Australians not to be afraid of showing up to commemorations.
Australian War Memorial director Brendan Nelson said if the incident was to have any impact on crowds, it would increase attendance rates at Anzac Day ceremonies.
“We are determined as Australians that we’re not going to let people push us around,” Dr Nelson told reporters.
“We’re not going to have people deflect us from the things in which we believe, the truths by which we live and the values and the men and women that we honour on days such as today.”
Gulf War veteran Scott Deacon said Australians needed to continue attending services to show respect and support for one another.
“I hope we’re doing the same thing in 100 years’ time, regardless of the threat or regardless of who is trying to stop us,” he told AAP.