Statement to Parliament regarding incident at Endeavour Hills police station

Media Release

WT179/2014

24 September 2014

It is appropriate that I make a statement to the House regarding the incident at Endeavour Hills police station yesterday.

At approximately 7.45pm last night one Australian Federal Police Officer and one Victoria Police Officer were subjected to an unprovoked attack from an 18 year old man armed with a knife.

The two officers were wounded in the attack, one seriously. During the conflict one officer fired upon the attacker and killed him.

The attacker was a known terrorist suspect who was a person of interest to our law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

He had presented to the Endeavour Hills police station voluntarily after speaking with officers from the Joint Counter-Terrorism Team in order to discuss concerns regarding some of his recent actions.

While the matter will be subject to formal investigation, it appears that the officer who fired upon the suspect saved his own life and the life of his colleague.

The officers involved are at the frontline of protecting the community from the very real threat from people who wish to engage in terrorist activities here in Australia.

They regularly put their personal safety at risk in order to keep us safe and it is at times such as these that we realise the risk and personal sacrifice that they and their families endure.

The seriously injured Australian Federal Police officer is 43 years of age and has a wife and two children. He is a member of the Joint Counter-Terrorism Team in Melbourne and has been with the AFP since June 2012. He is in a serious but stable condition.

I understand that the Victoria Police officer is a Senior Constable and that he is undergoing surgery today but is in a stable condition.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Abbott spoke to the wives of both injured officers and the thoughts of the Australian Parliament go out to these officers and their families. We wish them a full and speedy recovery and commend their brave actions.

Violence against police in any form will never be tolerated. However it is vital that the community remains calm and allows our law enforcement and security agencies to conduct this investigation thoroughly.

Authorities are also engaging with the local affected communities on the ground.

Continued community engagement is critically important at this time. Officials across the country will ensure that lines of communication and dialogue remain open with our communities so that we can work together to counter this threat from a small number of criminals.

We are an inclusive and tolerant society. The actions of violent criminals do not represent the views or attitudes of the over-whelming majority of Australians, regardless of their faith or ethnicity.

I urge the Australian public to remember that violence against anyone based on their religion, beliefs or race is never acceptable.

To turn on each other on the basis of religion or race would be to give the terrorist groups what they want.

As is normal after events like this, Commonwealth, state and territory counter-terrorism officials will be reviewing the incident later today to ensure that our public security arrangements remain appropriate across the country.

I can assure all Australians that our law enforcement, security agencies and governments, in partnership with all our communities, will take every action to keep them safe.

And I reiterate that Australians should remain calm, carry on with their normal lives, confident that our law enforcement and security agencies will do everything they humanly can to keep all members of our Australian community safe.