Australian PM announces security upgrades at places of worship

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced 55 million Australian dollars (39 million U.S. dollars) in funding in community safety grants following the attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand.
People place flowers to mourn the victims of the attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 17, 2019. The death toll from the terror attacks on two mosques in New Zealand's Christchurch has risen to 50 as one more victim was found at one of the shooting scenes, the police said on Sunday. (Xinhua/Guo Lei)

Addressing the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce on Monday, Morrison said that it is for priority to be given to religious schools, places of religious worship and religious assembly. The grants from 50,000 AUD (35,450 U.S. dollars) to 1.5 million AUD (1.06 million U.S. dollars) to various religious groups will provide for safety enhancements such as surveillance cameras, lighting, fencing, bollards, alarms, security systems and public address systems.  

"Now this announcement, along with everything else we have announced over recent years is 'the how' of keeping people safe - and we'll keep investing and working on 'the how', because the greatest responsibility of any government is to keep Australians safe."

Friday's terror attacks have so far left 50 people killed and 50 others injured. The suspected gunman, 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant, was charged with murder.  Morrison on Friday described the attack as the act of a "right-wing extremist.

" Queensland Senator Fraser Anning has drawn global condemnation for his response to the attack, in which he said Muslim immigration was to blame.   His comments prompted a 17-year-old boy to slap an egg on the back of his head during a trip to Melbourne on Saturday, which the senator responded to by slapping him, an act Anning compared to trench warfare. 

Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton said that Anning could face racial vilification and assault charges over Friday's statement and Saturday's incident and called on Australians to vote him out of the Senate in May's general election.

"One of the regrets I have is that we give attention or a spotlight to people like Fraser Anning," he told Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) radio on Monday.

 "People can express their view freely and respectfully at the ballot box and I think that is the strongest possible message that can be sent." The governing Liberal-National Party Coalition (LNP) and Opposition Australian Labor Party (ALP) have already said that they will join forces to officially censure Anning when the parliament resumes in April.

An online petition calling for Anning to be expelled from the Senate has been signed by more than one million people but the parliament does not have the power to expel a member for their conduct.  

 

ADVERTISEMENT