Parliament House, Canberra 14 April

Prime Minister

: Thank you for joining us. For all of us tonight, the devastating scenes at Bondi Junction are beyond words or understanding. Australians will be shocked this evening. This was a horrific act of violence, indiscriminately targeted at innocent people going about an ordinary Saturday, doing their shopping. Tonight, the first thoughts of all Australians are with the victims of these terrible acts and their loved ones. Our nation offers our deepest condolences and sympathies to all those who are grieving for someone they have lost. And we send our strength to those who have been injured. And all of us are thinking of the dedicated doctors, nurses and healthcare workers who will be working through the night to save lives and to care for their fellow Australians. Today, Bondi Junction was the scene of shocking violence. But it was also witness to the humanity and the heroism of our fellow Australians, our brave police, our first responders, and of course, everyday people who could never have imagined that they would face such a moment. And some of the footage is quite extraordinary. Staff for whom this should have been a normal shift, shoppers peacefully going about their lives, and yet for these Australians, their first instinct in the face of danger, was to help someone else. That is what we hold onto tonight as Australians. That’s confirmation of who we are. Brave, strong, together. The work of the NSW Police and the Australian Federal Police is ongoing. But what we can say for sure tonight is this, to any Australian affected by this tragedy, every Australian is with you. Before I hand to Commissioner Kershaw, I can say that I’ve also spoken with the NSW Acting Premier tonight, and the Commonwealth stands ready to assist in every way possible. Commissioner Kershaw.

REECE KERSHAW, AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE COMMISSIONER: Thanks, Prime Minister. Tonight, the AFP is supporting NSW Police investigate a mass casualty event in Sydney. The AFP has deployed AFP members to the crime scene and we’ve offered our full specialist capability, such as digital forensics. It is too early to determine a motive and it would be unhelpful to speculate. I want to reassure the community that the AFP is providing NSW Police with whatever support is required. And tonight, I’ve also spoken with the NSW Police Commissioner and the Director-General ASIO. And finally, I would like to give my condolences to the victims and families out there.

JOURNALIST: Given your opening remarks, I know you’ve sort of addressed this in part, but given the attack was in Bondi, the seat of Wentworth in Eastern Sydney, I think there are people asking about whether terror is part of this attack at all deals. Have any information about whether there was any terrorist motivation in this attack?

COMMISSIONER KERSHAW: Having spoken with the NSW Police Commissioner at this stage, it’s too early to give that assessment. However, all the agencies, the right agencies, are working together to make that assessment.

JOURNALIST: PM, would you comment on that? Given that there are already a lot of people speculating about that as a possible motivation here, what’s your response to that speculation?

PRIME MINISTER: I think the AFP Commissioner has made it clear that speculation, certainly not from myself, would be unhelpful at this time. We should allow the investigators to go about their work, the police, I’ve also had a discussion tonight with the Director-General of ASIO. The motive at this stage is unknown. And we will, of course, continue to update the Australian public as more information is known.

JOURNALIST: Commissioner, just how serious is this incident in Australia?

COMMISSIONER KERSHAW: It’s very serious, given the amount of people that have been harmed. And, you know, it’s something that we take seriously. We do, sadly, exercise for these kinds of events. And what I would say, the police and the emergency services on the ground there are doing an incredible job and also working with victims and trauma. Quite some incredible work from all the services.

JOURNALIST: Can you say anything about how many AFP resources have been mobilised because of this?

COMMISSIONER KERSHAW: Not at this stage, but it’s hard to say because you have people at the scene, but you then have the support in the back end of our business. So, a lot of people are working on this right now, and we work together and NSW Police have the lead on this.

JOURNALIST: And PM, what would you say to Australians who are worried about other attacks, whether this may lead to other attacks or spur them on, and whether there should be any concern about further threats?

PRIME MINISTER: Look, it certainly is my view that we should allow this investigation to take place. It would appear that this person has acted alone. The motives are not known yet, and speculation on that would not be helpful at this time. But we have been clear and transparent, and I know that the NSW Police, as well as now the AFP, have made information available as a priority because we understand that the Australian public will be very shocked by this event. Our heart goes out to them. And I think also, in conclusion, can I say, I spoke before about the bravery that has been exhibited here, the bravery of the police officer who, she entered the proceedings that were taking place, obviously very dangerous, by herself. She is certainly a hero. There is no doubt that she saved lives through her action. And it is a reminder that those people who wear uniform are people who rush to danger, not away from it. And I give thanks to every, every one of them for the actions that they’ve taken up to now, and the actions that they will take over the coming days, which will be a difficult period as well. Thank you.

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