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May 24, 2014 06:18 AM EDT

Australian PM Tony Abbott Reveals Reason behind Cancellation of Deakin Visit

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Revealing the reasons behind his decision to cancel a visit to Deakin Unviersity's Geelong campus, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that he did not want to give students a chance to protest.

Mr Abbott and Education Minister Christopher Pyne were scheduled to attend the official opening of a carbon fibre research facility at the University April 21. But, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) cautioned them against the visit as it coincided with a nationwide protest over the Government's federal cuts to higher education and rising student fees.

"Giving the students an excuse for a riot is not actually going to serve that purpose, it was going to take probably up to 50 police off the streets who may have been more useful elsewhere, it was going to inconvenience a lot of people," Mr Abbott said, Independent reports.

During protests held by the Australian National Union of Students (NUS) and community groups April 21, almost 2,000 people marched from Melbourne's State Library to the Parliament building in Victoria. The protestors clashed with police in front of the building.

NUS president Deanna Taylor feels that students missed the opportunity to express their concerns with the cancellation of the event.

''I think the Prime Minister and his ministers are being a bit cowardly and trying to portray students as though they're violent rabble-rousers who are out to cause trouble, which isn't the case at all,'' Taylor said. ''They're trying to make us sound like spoiled little brats who don't know how good we've got it. They have a very clear agenda.''

Pyne said that the decision was based purely on security concerns expressed by AFP. Plus, the Education Minister and the Prime Minister were also worried about the safety of the innocent spectators and students who might be affected by the Socialist Alternative, a far left-wing organisation with Marxist views that is present at universities around Australia.

"And it's a great shame, of course, in the modern era that this would be the case," Pyne said, abc reports.

On May 21, former Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella was escorted by police at the Melbourne University after protesters disrupted her speech.

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