PM told: No talk with Sydney gunman

Published: Wednesday 17th December 2014 by The News Editor

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Australian prime minister Tony Abbott has revealed he did not speak to the gunman in the Sydney cafe siege on police advice, as he announced an urgent review into the self-styled cleric’s handling by security services.

In a press conference this morning, Mr Abbott told reporters he wanted answers to why hostage-taker Man Horan Monis had been released on bail, had dropped off a terrorism watch list five years ago and had a gun licence.

Questions have raged in Australia over the gunman’s background since the bloody hostage crisis at the Lindt Chocolat Cafe in Sydney’s busy financial and legal district which saw three people killed, including Monis himself.

Cafe manager Tori Johnson, 34, was reported to have been killed trying to wrestle the gun from the 50-year-old Iranian, while lawyer and mother-of-three Katrina Dawson, 38, was said to have died while trying to protect a pregnant friend.

Mr Abbott said: “I do want answers to some obvious questions that have been raised in the wake of this terrorist incident. We do need to know why the perpetrator of this horrible outrage got permanent residence.

“We do need to know how he’d been on welfare for so many years. We do need to know what this individual was doing with a gun licence.

“We particularly need to know how someone with such a long record of violence, such a long record of mental instability was out on bail after his involvement in a particularly horrific crime and we do need to know why he seems to have fallen off our security agency’s watchlist back in 2009.”

Mr Abbott said he hoped the review would conclude by the end of January.

He also said the country’s security committee was “incredulous” when it found out about Monis’ “record and his life in this country”.

And he revealed he was prepared to speak to Monis, who had demanded a phone conversation with Abbott during the 16-hour siege, but did not after police advised him not to.

“No I didn’t (speak to him). I said to my office when I became aware of this request that obviously I was prepared to do whatever the police advised was best in these circumstances and the advice we got from police was to have not contact with him,” he added.

Published: Wednesday 17th December 2014 by The News Editor

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