Puckle Street Incident

SUBJECTS: Puckle Street incident

BILL SHORTEN, MINISTER FO RTHE NDIS AND GOVERNMENT SERVICES: Thank you. Yesterday lunchtime on the busy Puckle Street in Moonee Ponds, in the heart of my electorate of Maribyrnong, four innocent people were the victims of a stabbing. Two men and two women. I would have walked up and down Puckle Street a thousand times with my family. It is literally 200m from my electorate office. So, saying these words is still quite difficult to believe. It's a terrible incident which has shocked and saddened me, but my whole community and to be honest, it makes me incredibly angry that it happened.

Those who are injured were simply going about their daily lives. A small businesswoman and members of the public passing by, when they became victims of an abominable assault. The owner of Amazing Bargains, a shop that is usually the destination for people looking for party supplies or parents trying to placate their kids at the $2 shop, the owner was the first victim. Media reporting is that the owner was trying to stop the assailant from shoplifting when he became agitated, punching her before stabbing her. This is a terrible thought that someone protecting their livelihood should suffer such a violent and criminal reaction. After leaving the owner bloodied and distressed, the man then proceeded in Puckle Street, down Puckle Street, randomly attacking passers-by, one an 80-year-old man. Now, thankfully, none of the four have life threatening injuries. They're recovering with very capable help at St Vincent's and Royal Melbourne hospitals.

And as always, at times, the crisis heroes emerge. To the courageous members of the public who offered assistance or confronted the assailant, I express my admiration and gratitude for your efforts to help. These brave community members weren't thinking of themselves. Human kindness and compassion, as so often occurs, overtook any fears for their own safety. They did all that they could do to help those who were bleeding and distressed or stop it happening to anybody else. I'm also grateful for the remarkable response of our ambos who were on the scene within five minutes, offering expert care and comfort to the victims. And to the officers down the road from my office at the Moonee Ponds police station, who worked in conjunction with the Criminal Investigation Unit, who responded swiftly to apprehend the perpetrator within ten minutes, I offer my deepest thanks.

I also thank the witnesses who Moonee Ponds police say were instrumental in the quick arrest, giving officers the information they needed to lead them to the Moonee Ponds train station, where they found a 36-year-old Broadmeadows man. Because our community worked together, the assailant was detained before he could cause any more harm. He spent last night in custody. This morning he'd been charged with 29 offences, including armed robbery, assault with a weapon and intent to cause injury. He'll appear in Melbourne Magistrates Court today.

The alleged crimes, as I said, happened 200m from my electorate office. This is my community. This is not believed to be a terrorist, it's believed to be one individual who, in an act of violence, shattered the peace of our lovely neighbourhood.

We pride ourselves that we live in a wonderful and harmonious part of Melbourne that has been built together by successive generations. I may be a little biased, but to me the inner northwest is, there’s no better part of Australia. It's a hub of rich cultural diversity. People from all walks of life gather to eat, work and play. Puckle Street is, as I said, I had strolled along with my own family more times than I can count, and like thousands who live in the area, do our weekly shop, and often stop for coffee. The incidents deeply affected us and I'm sure all who loved Moonee Ponds will be feeling the same pain.

I acknowledge the great small businesses in this street. Olga Kenny at Paulene Maree, Rob Furness at Sims Sports, Phan Vu, the other side of where this happened on Puckle Street, Fan Vu Alterations. All places I've visited in the last in the last 72, 96 hours. So, I joined with local Member for Essendon, Danny Pearson, Moonee Valley City Council Mayor and Councillors, Moonee Valley Council Mayor Pearce Tyson, who said incredibly it was incredibly disturbing to hear of locals attacked in the middle of the day in our part of the world.

I just want to say to all of the residents, I share your anxiety. I share my admiration for our community. But I also recognise this violent incident does not define Moonee Ponds, but the heartening response in the community most certainly does.