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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Opposition leader Peter Dutton react to Willetton incident

Dan Jervis-Bardy
The Nightly
2 Min Read
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said there was no place for terrorism in Australia.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said there was no place for terrorism in Australia. Credit: Pool/Getty Images

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Opposition leader Peter Dutton have reiterated there is “no place for violent extremism” in Australia after the Willetton stabbing attack.

Mr Albanese and Mr Dutton praised WA Police for their handling of the incident, in which a 16-year-old boy wielding a knife was shot dead by a police officer after stabbing a man.

WA Police Commissioner Col Blanch said the boy, who was known to police, had mental health issues and may have been radicalised online.

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He was also one of a handful of teenagers in WA participating in a police deradicalisation program.

Mr Albanese thanked WA Police for “acting swiftly to contain the incident”.

“My thoughts are with those who have been affected by the incident in the Perth suburb of Willetton overnight,” Mr Albanese said in a statement.

Mr Dutton said the incident was “deeply concerning”.

“My thoughts are with the WA police officers who acted quickly to contain the situation, to the victim of the stabbing incident who we hope and pray is recovering well, and to those in the community affected,” he said.

Mr Dutton said reports the boy might have been radicalised online were of “deep concern”, repeating Mr Albanese’s declaration that there was “no place for violent extremism” in Australia.

The prime minister made similar comments last month after a 16-year-old boy allegedly stabbed Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel while he delivering a sermon inside a Sydney church.

The alleged stabbing was quickly declared a terrorist incident with a joint Federal-NSW counterterrorism taskforce stood up to investigate.

Six teenagers associated with the alleged attacker were charged after authorities descended on properties across western Sydney and southern NSW.

Commissioner Blanch said while the Willetton attack had all the “hallmarks” of a terrorist incident, he wouldn’t declare it one at this stage because he believed the 16-year-old was acting alone and WA didn’t require extra Commonwealth resources.

An Australian Federal Police spokesperson said it was aware of the incident and was working with WA Police.

Speaking last month at the National Press Club, ASIO boss Mike Burgess said the radicalisation of minors was firmly on the agency’s radar.

“There’s been a growing number of minors in our counter-terrorism caseload,” Mr Burgess said.

“That did peak a couple of years ago to 50 per cent of our counter-terrorism caseload. It dropped off again for a while but it has picked up again.

“They are a vulnerable cohort.”

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