The government isn’t concerned about the safety of its members, despite reports four ministers have had their security detail beefed-up, the prime minister says.
“Very, very occasionally” some security would be required, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Friday, adding that people had the right to express their views and protest.
“Very, very rarely there are protests, occasionally those protests get ugly,” he told reporters in Sydney.
His comments come as Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was targeted by feisty protesters as she opened the C20 conference at the University of Melbourne on Friday morning.
“It shouldn’t happen, I don’t think it is a very Australian thing to do, to try prevent someone from speaking, to prevent someone from visiting some place where their duty calls them,” Mr Abbott said.
Protests, he said, should always be conducted in a “fair and respectful manner”.
“But it seems a few people did go over the top,” he said, after a man was arrested for lunging at the car that Ms Bishop was travelling in.
Treasurer Joe Hockey, Ms Bishop, Education Minister Christopher Pyne and Assistant Defence Minister Stuart Robert have been assigned extra protection from the Australian Federal Police, Fairfax reports.