Prime Minister Tony Abbott says extra security measures are vital to ensure Australia does not have an attack similar to what happened in Canada.

Tony Abbott says extra security measures are vital if Australia is to avoid a “copycat” attack on Parliament House or other facilities.

The Prime Minister spoke to his Canadian counterpart, Stephen Harper, on Friday following the shooting of a soldier by a terrorist who later stormed the parliament in Ottawa before he was killed.

Mr Abbott expressed his commiserations as well as “shock and horror” about the incident.

He said the Canadian attack, which followed the death of another soldier in Quebec on Monday at the hands of an Islamic extremist, showed the need for vigilance.

“The problem is that there is a copycat tendency amongst these people,” Mr Abbott said.

Security in Canberra was stepped up in recent months after intelligence services reported “chatter” in terrorist networks of an attack.

Next week, the Senate will debate new laws making it a crime for Australians to travel to declared terrorism hot spots.

About 60 Australians are fighting with Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, with at least 100 others offering support and 70 who have had their passports cancelled on security grounds before leaving the country.

“What we don’t want is people coming back more capable of doing us harm than they were before they left and going overseas brutalises them, it militarises them,” Mr Abbott told Fairfax radio.

The government has agreed to amendments to the laws recommended in a bipartisan report, making it likely the bill could pass the Senate next week.

Mr Abbott conceded the Australian War Memorial could be a target, being a symbol of the nation and its values.

War memorial director Brendan Nelson has confirmed security is under review since the Canada attack.

The Senate will next week receive a report on expanded powers for ASIO and civil liberties safeguards.

It comes before a third tranche of counter-terrorism laws, due to be introduced later in the year, to ensure intelligence agencies can access metadata to track would-be terrorists.

Meanwhile, Labor seized on a comment by Education Minister Christopher Pyne, who joked on the Nine Network that a “lone wolf” could be behind media reports of university reform negotiations.

“On today of all days, this is a completely insensitive comment from Christopher Pyne,” shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus said.