Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull pictured with deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce in December.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull pictured with deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce in December. Chris Ison ROK271016cpm2

Turnbull talks terrorism in his New Year address

PRIME Minster Malcolm Turnbull has used his New Year message to praise Melbourne's response to recent terrorism arrests. 

The short address focused on terrorism and world conflict as Mr Turnbull welcomed Australia to 2017.

He said Australians should be grateful that the country was a harmonious society with people of all backgrounds living together in peace. 

"But we must never take it for granted," he said. 

"Our police and security services have foiled a number of terrorist plots designed to undermine our society."

Mr Turnbull referenced arrests in Melbourne in the days before Christmas. Four people were charged over an alleged plot to plant improvised explosive devices in public places throughout the centre of the city.

It is one of a number of terrorism-related arrests made in Melbourne in 2016. 

A man affiliated with the anti-immigration group Reclaim Australia was arrested in August and charged with collecting and making documents connected with preparing for a terrorist attack.

Police allege the man was preparing to bomb 

At the time of his arrest, police told media they had stopped nine terrorist attacks by watching suspects and acting quickly. 

Read his New Year's address in full below: 

Welcome to 2017.

When I look back at the last year, and all of its surprises and challenges, we can be very proud of how much we have achieved.

In 2017, we will continue to work hard to ensure that all Australians are able to weather the economic challenges the world presents and seize the opportunities that technology and the rapid growth in our region offer.

Conflict around the world should make us all the more grateful and proud that we are such a harmonious society, with people of all faiths, cultures and backgrounds living together in peace.

But we must never take it for granted. Our police and security services have foiled a number of terrorist plots designed to undermine our society and scare us into changing our way of life which is the envy of the world.

The way Australians responded to the most recent arrests says a lot about our great nation. We refused to be cowed or frightened and we went about our business - attending Christmas church services, including in one of the locations police believe was a terrorist target; lining up to attend the cricket; shopping in the sales; seeing the New Year in.

We will continue to root out Islamist terrorists and violent extremists and put them behind bars, just as our Defence Force will continue to combat and destroy them in Syria and Iraq.

Those who have sought to divide us have failed just as those who try to divide us in the future will fail. And that's because we remain united in our determination to maintain our Australian values and our Australian way of life.

Freedom, diversity and security - these are great Australian strengths. And they are built upon a foundation of mutual respect.

So as we celebrate the end of 2016 and look ahead to 2017, rest assured that national and economic security will again be my priority.

There will be plenty of surprises and challenges in 2017, just as there have been in 2016. But our unique strengths as a nation ensure that we are well placed to meet the unexpected and make 2017 a winning year for all Australians.

I wish everybody a New Year filled with peace, happiness and love.



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