Security guard who confronted Bondi killer was ‘really brave’ and his permanent residency will be considered, PM says

Madeleine Achenza and Ellen RansleyNCA NewsWire
Not Supplied
Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: Supplied

Anthony Albanese has confirmed the government will consider a visa extension for an heroic Pakistani security guard for his actions during the Bondi Junction massacre.

Muhammad Taha lives in Australia on a graduate visa that is due to expire within weeks.

He asked the Albanese government to give him an extension, following public praise and a confirmed visa extension for French national Damien Guerot, nicknamed “bollard man” after the attacks.

Mr Taha was seriously injured by Queensland man Joel Cauchi, 40, during his murderous rampage at Westfield Bondi Junction on Saturday.

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Mr Guerot, who has been praised by French President Emmanuel Macron for attempting to fend of Cauchi with a bollard, will be allowed to stay in Australia following action from federal authorities.

Mr Albanese said a permanent visa would be “granted to (Mr Guerot) today”, and that Mr Taha’s case will be considered as well.

Joel Cauchi, 40, killed six people and injured 12 more people on Saturday afternoon before he was shot dead by hero police Inspector Amy Scott.

Bondi Junction Westfield security guard, Muhammad Taha, lies in hospital following stabbing injury. Supplied
Camera IconBondi Junction Westfield security guard, Muhammad Taha, lies in hospital following stabbing injury. Supplied Credit: Supplied
Frenchman Damien Guerot confronted attacker with bollard. 7 NEWS
Camera IconFrenchman Damien Guerot confronted attacker with bollard. 7 NEWS Credit: Channel 7

Mr Taha had asked why he hadn’t heard from the Prime Minister with an offer of permanent residency.

Mr Taha heroically confronted Cauchi – alongside colleague Faraz Tahir – as the 40-year-old began randomly stabbing female shoppers.

Mr Albanese praised Mr Taha’s actions.

“He confronted this guy... It just shows extraordinary courage, these are people who ... not thinking of themselves, were putting themselves in danger protecting Australians they didn’t know, just people going about their shopping,” Mr Albanese told 5aa radio.

“And that’s the sort of courage that we want to say thank you to, frankly. Those extraordinary stories of bravery in amongst the carnage and tragedy that we saw on Saturday.

“It’s a bit of light in amongst the darkness that you saw these extraordinary acts.

Bondi hero initially missed out on visa offer

Mr Tahir was stabbed to death and Mr Taha was seriously injured during Saturday’s massacre.

He is one of six stabbing victims who remain in hospital recovering from their injuries.

However, while Frenchman Damien Guerot was offered a personal initiation from the Prime Minister to “stay as long as he likes”, Mr Taha has not yet been extended the same offer.

He is currently on a subclass 476 visa – a skilled recognised graduate visa – that will expire within a month.

“As a direct victim of the incident, I believe I deserve recognition and consideration for citizenship,” Mr Taha told The Australian.

“As well [as], the guards working alongside came running towards the point of incident and risking their lives … [they] should be ­offered citizenship as well.”

Faraz Tahir, a security guard who lost his life in the Bondi Westfields stabbing attack on Saturday. Supplied
Camera IconFaraz Tahir, a security guard who lost his life in the Bondi Westfields stabbing attack on Saturday. Supplied Credit: Supplied

Six stabbing victims are recovering in hospital from their injuries, including a nine-month-old baby girl in a serious but stable condition and a woman in a serious but stable condition in intensive care. Two men and two women are in a stable condition.

French ‘bollard men’ heroes speak

Two French citizens who confronted Cauchi have revealed more about the moment they locked eyes with the killer.

Silas Despreaux and Damien Guerot told the Today Show they initially thought the a celebrity must have been the cause of the commotion at the shopping centre.

But after going to check it out, they soon were confronted with Cauchi, armed with a knife just metres away from them.

“The bollard was there, Silas was like, ‘We need to do something, we need to catch him,’” Mr Guerot said.“We were in open space, there was nowhere to hide, nothing to protect ourselves … if we miss him, we don’t have a chance.”

“Confronting”: Mayor’s warning as Westfield reopens

Waverley Mayor Paula Masselos says the reopening of Westfield Bondi Junction will be “confronting” but “significant” for the healing journey of victims and the community.

“I know it’s going to be very powerful. It’s going to be confronting, it’s going to be emotional. But I really think it is going to be very significant,” she told the Today Show on Thursday morning.


“It’s about people going back to that place, reclaiming it, not allowing these terrible events by that person who obviously was suffering mental health issues to actually make this place a place that no one wants to come back to.

“It was such a thriving, dynamic community hub, and we want to make sure it will be that again. So we’ll be working very hard to ensure that people will be able to re-embrace this place.”

Sydneysiders have flocked to the site to lay flowers and cards to the victims of Cauchi’s rampage.

But Ms Masselos acknowledged it could take some time before a permanent memorial is erected.

“We’ll be working very closely to come up with something that will really commemorate it. But it’s going to take some time,” she said.

Ms Masselos noted it took three years for the Lindt Cafe memorial to get off the ground.

“We want to make it, we want to make it appropriate. We want to make it something that people will really love, but we want to take our time, work closely with the Premier’s Department, and just make sure it is the right … kind of memorial to put here.”

Westfield opens for day of reflection

Westfield Bondi Junction will re-open its doors for a day of reflection after, less than a week after a deadly massacre in which five women and security guard were stabbed to death.

The centre will reopen on Thursday for the first time on since thousands of shoppers were evacuated during the emergency five days ago.

Westfield victims

Some shoppers who abandoned their cars to flee the scene on the foot returned to the scene on Sunday to collect their vehicles, but this will be the first time members of the public will be able to walk back into the centre.

Scentre group chief executive Elliott Rusanow said there would be no retail trade at the centre when the doors reopened, instead saying members of the community could pay their respects.

Counselling and services will be on site to provide the necessary help before normal trading hours resume on Friday.

Some stores would choose not to reopen, Mr Rusanow said.

“This has been a very difficult time and I want to acknowledge the hard work and tireless efforts of our Westfield Bondi and Scentre Group teams,” he said.

“They have been working through conditions which have been devastating in their minds and in all our minds.”

Originally published as Security guard who confronted Bondi killer was ‘really brave’ and his permanent residency will be considered, PM says

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