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Greg Hunt recalls how his children’s lives were threatened amid concern for the safety of politicians and their family

skynews– Health Minister Greg Hunt wiped away tears during a press conference on Wednesday as he recalled the moment the lives of his children were threatened.

Mr Hunt was asked to comment on protection for politicians after Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner revealed his wife and son had to leave their house at the weekend after threats from anti-vaccination protestors when he became emotional.

“Let me condemn clearly, absolutely, unequivocally the attack on Michael Gunner’s house and what would have been deep concern for his family,” Mr Hunt said.

“I’ve never really talked about it, there was period where the lives of my children were threatened quite openly some years ago.

“That was a matter of great concern but we have very fine federal police in this country.”

Demonstrators shouted Mr Gunner’s home address and threatened to attack him at a rally held in Darwin on Saturday, with the Chief Minister revealing to Sky News Australia he was extremely worried about his wife and son’s safety.

Health Minister Greg Hunt became emotional during a press conference on Wednesday as he recalled how a threat was made to his children’s lives. Picture: Gary Ramage / NCA NewsWire

“What I will say is this, that I offer my support to Michael Gunner,” Mr Hunt said.

“To those that think violence or the threat of violence is accepted in any way, shape or form, it is not. As a country we have to, I think, relearn the value of respect and I don’t mean holding our parliamentarians up on any pedestal.

“They’re not better than anybody but they’re not worse than anybody, they are overwhelmingly public servants that seek to serve the nation and there will be differing views and differing approaches.”

Mr Hunt said parliamentarians will continue to follow the advice of police but called for more mutual respect between Australians and politicians.

“This notion of national tolerance and mutual respect is something I believe in passionately,” he said.

“The protection… we follow the advice of police at state and federal level based on threat assessment but it’s that culture of mutual respect which is critical.”

The protection of politicians has been in the spotlight in recent days following the death of British MP Sir David Amess while he was meeting constituents in a church.

“We need to consider what those implications are for us here in Australia. I spoke in Parliament yesterday and gave condolences to the friends and family of Sir David,” Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews told Neil Breen on 4BC.

“I also met yesterday with the Commissioner for the Australian Federal Police, Reece Kershaw, and talked to him about the advice that has been given to MPs and Senators over, quite frankly, a number of years, about the actions that they need to take to make sure that they remain safe.

“I also sought some advice about any additional actions that needed to be taken by MPs and Senators. I have spoken recently about the terrorism threat to all Australians here. We’ve had a reminder in terms of elected representatives but the threat does remain for all Australians at this point in time.”

Ms Andrews was asked whether any politicians feel worried or under threat in light of recent events.

“I think worried may be too strong but I think they are conscious of the increasing threat,” she said.

“People do, obviously, need to be able to speak to their MPs and we want that to continue. We want a high level of accessibility to politicians.

“There just need to be some boundaries and sometimes those boundaries are being crossed. You know we had a recent example in the Northern Territory where the home address of the Chief Minister of the NT was publicly stated and that put him at risk.”

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