Asia-Pacific

'An attack on all of us': Morrison, Ardern condemn extremism after attacks

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The prime ministers of Australia and New Zealand have united to condemn the terror attacks in Christchurch.

Australia and New Zealand's leaders have come together to condemn this week's mass shooting in two Christchurch mosques, calling it "an attack against all of us".

Speaking to the media at Lakemba Mosque on Saturday afternoon, Prime Minister Scott Morrison expressed the Australian government's "profound and deepest condolences and sympathies for the horrific and tragic terrorist attacks that took place in New Zealand."

"Its important to be here standing with you because as Prime Minister Ardern said yesterday, an attack against one is an attack against all of us," Mr Morrison told reporters.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison looks at floral tributes to the victims of the Christchurch terror attack during a visit to the Lakemba Mosque.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison looks at floral tributes to the victims of the Christchurch terror attack during a visit to the Lakemba Mosque.
AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

"From all communities who love peace, who love the freedoms that we have both here in Australia and New Zealand and the peace loving peoples of the world. This is what is under attack."

In a show of solidarity with Australia's closest neighbours across the Tasman, Mr Morrison called for everyone to unite against the "real enemy... hatred and intolerance."

"This horrific event took place and was targeted to one particular community – the Islamic community – in a mosque as they went to prayers in New Zealand," Mr Morrison said.

"But in doing so, it was an attack on all peace loving peoples, on all innocent peoples.

"And that’s why we can all stand together in support of our Muslim brothers and sisters who were the specific targets of this attack."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison arrives with Imams and Islamic community leaders following a meeting during a visit to the Lakemba Mosque.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison arrives with Imams and Islamic community leaders following a meeting during a visit to the Lakemba Mosque.

Mr Morrison also announced the government will censure Queensland senator Fraser Anning over his comments about the mosque shootings.

Mr Morrison said there had been discussions between Senators Mathias Cormann and Penny Wong about a bipartisan motion when Parliament returns in April.

"These comments are appalling and they're ugly and they have no place in Australia. In the Australian Parliament also. And he should be, frankly, ashamed of himself" he said.

In the wake of Friday's attacks, which left 49 people dead at two Christchurch mosques, New Zealand's threat level was raised to high for the first time in its history.

The unprecedented shootings have been confirmed as an act of terror by NZ's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, has been charged with one count of murder and is likely to face more before he returns to court on April 5.

Tributes in Christchurch following the attack.
Tributes in Christchurch following the attack.
SBS News

"Yes, we appear to primarily be dealing with one primary perpetrator but we want to make sure that we don't take anything for granted in ensuring New Zealanders' safety," Ms Ardern told reporters in Christchurch on Saturday.

Dozens remain in hospital, with at least 12 - including a four-year-old girl - in a critical condition.

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https://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/video/1459334723673/new-zealand-prime-minister-addresses-christchurch-shooting
https://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/video/1459334723673/new-zealand-prime-minister-addresses-christchurch-shooting

Ms Ardern said "a complex and comprehensive investigation is under way," with Australian authorities involved.

The New Zealand PM flew into Christchurch on Saturday, where she met with families and Muslim community leaders.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern meets with members of the Muslim community in the wake of the mass shooting at the two Christchurch mosques.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern meets with members of the Muslim community in the wake of the mass shooting at the two Christchurch mosques.
AAP Image/Office of the Prime Minister NZ

Their primary concern was being able to lay their loved ones to rest.

"Police are working to bring those bodies out by the end of the day. That is their hope. I'm told they're making good progress," she said.

"All of those (involved) know just how important it is to families for them to be reunited with their loved ones as quickly as they can."

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Grief and outrage around the world following Christchurch mosque shootings
Grief and outrage around the world following Christchurch mosque shootings

At Hagley College, just minutes from where 41 people were fatally shot at the Al Noor mosque, families of the victims greeted the prime minister.

"If this evil thinks we will stop going to our mosque here or stop doing our worship to our god, Allah, we never ever cannot stop," Linwood mosque Imam Ibrahim Abdelhalim told reporters outside.

"Because we still believe this country accepts all religions... We are part of the New Zealand community."

Mourners hug outside the Al Noor mosque on Saturday.
Mourners hug outside the Al Noor mosque on Saturday.

A further eight people were killed at Linwood Ave mosque, seven minutes after the first attack.

Ms Ardern has vowed to change New Zealand's gun laws after confirming Tarrant had obtained a Category A gun licence in November 2017 and "under that, he was able to acquire the guns that he held".

The Australian gunman, who had based himself in Dunedin, used two semi-automatic weapons, two shotguns and a lever-action firearm, Ms Ardern said.

"When people, of course, hear that this individual had acquired a gun licence and acquired weapons of that range, then obviously I think people will be seeking change, and I'm committing to that," she said.

Messages of support near the Al Noor mosque.
Messages of support near the Al Noor mosque.
SBS News

In signs police say show a well-planned attack, army personnel were also called in to dismantle explosive devices found in a stopped car and officers were on Friday evening searching a house in Dunedin, 360 kilometres away, clearing nearby homes for safety.

None of those arrested had appeared on a watchlist of New Zealand or Australian security agencies, police have confirmed.

Aftermath Of Mosque Terror Attack Felt In Christchurch
Locals lay flowers in tribute to those killed and injured at Deans Avenue near the Al Noor Mosque.
Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

Tarrant appeared in court on Saturday. He was wearing a tunic and was handcuffed. He did not apply for bail or to have his name suppressed and has been remanded in custody without plea until April 5.

He did not speak, but was looking around particularly at the media present.

Two other people are in custody and being investigated.

Calling it one of the darkest days in her country's history, Ms Ardern refused to accept it would change the character of a country that prides itself on peace, tolerance and has largely been untouched by global terror.

Leaders across the world, including Queen Elizabeth, British Prime Minister Theresa May, Pope Francis and United States president Donald Trump have sent condolences and condemned the attack.

Additional reporting: AAP

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