Yesterday Melbourne was rocked by yet another car attack in its CBD. This follows the Bourke Street car attack in January where a man allegedly ran down pedestrians in the busy shopping precinct which killed 6 and injured 36. Then on Grand Final Day a 15-year-old boy drove his car down Swanson street veering toward pedestrians. He was tasered by police after crashing into a tram, amazingly no one was injured.
Now a 32-year-old man of Afghan descent has driven his car into pedestrians at an intersection outside Melbourne’s Flinders Street station at 4.40pm. 19 people have been admitted to hospital with 4 in a critical condition. The suspect was apprehended at the scene and a 24-year-old man who was allegedly filming the incident has also been arrested after police found knives on his person.
Most of the chatter on social media from concerned citizens speculated whether this was an Islamic terror attack. People have become very sceptical of the information that has come from police given that after the Parramatta police station shooting police did not call it Islamic terror for several days. In the case of the attack on the Australian Christian Lobby in December last year police denied it was a politically motivated attack for 6 months.
Victoria Police told us yesterday evening that it was a deliberate act though the motive was unknown. Following that we were later told the suspect had a history of assault, drug use and mental health issues. We were told there was no link to terrorism at this stage and the suspect was not out on bail.
Today Victoria Police Acting Chief Commissioner Shane Patton told the media that during the brief time investigators had spent with the suspect he made utterings about “the mistreatment of Muslims”. For once Victoria Police is actually being transparent with us, but this is because they under extreme pressure over their handling of youth crime in Victoria.
A mob of 30-40 African youths gate crashed a party at a home in Werribee that was being rented through Airbnb by two teenage girls. The riot squad were called, and police were pelted with rocks but amazingly no arrests were made. A new African crime gang has now emerged to join the well-known Apex gang which is called ‘Menace to Society’.
Yesterday before the Flinders Street Attack Acting chief commissioner Shane Patton speaking on 3AW denied Victoria Police were soft “Victoria Police is not soft, we do use the appropriate force, but we have to balance people’s human rights”. Is he also referring to the human rights of criminals? It is a claim that has not aged well in the last 24 hours. Victoria is actually without a Chief Commissioner as Graham Ashton is on leave due to physical and mental fatigue.
This latest car attack makes a mockery of the bollards that have been installed in Melbourne to stop car attacks given that the suspect was still able to injure people at a busy intersection. Also, many are wondering given the speed of yesterday’s attack whether Melbourne’s newly installed incident siren system will be of any benefit.
But this latest attack is a culmination of government failures on all levels. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed the driver came to Australia as a refugee, one wonders how was someone so mentally unstable allowed in? Given that police were quickly able to identify the criminal history of the suspect why was he able to be on the streets?
Islamic apologists will do their best to claim this attack was not an act of terrorism. Although the suspect may not be a devout Muslim it would seem that the religion of Islam is attracting people who believe they can commit violent acts in its name.
This was the case with the perpetrator of the Lindt Café Siege Man Monis who had a history of criminal activity but in the end, was attracted to radical Islam. If people feel they can commit violent acts on behalf of your religion, then it should certainly give Islamic leaders reason to reflect on how they teach and practice their religion.
The old line trotted out that we should all carry on as before is not going to satisfy the people of Melbourne who are sick of their city and suburbs being terrorised. These failures of government to deal with violent criminals properly in our justice system and protect the public from them needs to change. The cries from the human rights lobby and legal fraternity about the rights of criminals need to be ignored.
And we need to seriously look at the type of people we are admitting into this country, not just if they have religious extremism in their background but if they are of sound mind and will actually make a positive contribution to Australia. This problems Melbourne is currently experiencing is an imported one, and we need to immediately make sure we do not continue this importation.