Prime Minister Tony Abbott has just given an update on the situation in Sydney. Here’s what he said:
I want to give you a brief update on the siege in Sydney.
I have just chaired a meeting of the National Security Committee of the Cabinet, which was briefed by Premier Baird and Andrew Scipione, the New South Wales Police Commissioner, on the unfolding situation.
This is a very disturbing incident.
It is profoundly shocking that innocent people should be held hostage by an armed person claiming political motivation.
Nevertheless, I can say that New South Wales Police and other agencies have responded to this incident with great professionalism.
Throughout the day, there has been nothing but complete and total cooperation between different Governments and different agencies.
You can be proud of the way your police and security bodies have responded to the events of this day.
I think I can also commend the people of Sydney for the calmness with which they have reacted to this disturbing incident.
We are a free, open and generous people and today we have responded to this in character.
Obviously, images have been beamed around our country and around the world.
I have received messages of support from a number of international leaders and I thank them for their encouragement on this difficult day.
Yes, it has been a difficult day. Yes, it is a day which has tested us, but, so far, like Australians in all sorts of situations, we have risen to the challenge.
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