Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda was one of many people in lockdown inside buildings in central Sydney today after a siege broke out in a Martin Place café.
Commissioner Gooda said he was in a meeting at 10am this morning when everyone's phones began buzzing.
The Australian Human Rights Commission headquarters are approximately 300 metres around a corner from the Lindt café in Martin Place, where hostages have been held by at least one armed assailant since before 10am this morning.
About 120 staff at the AHRC building on Pitt St were in lockdown.
"We had some staff outside who had gone out for coffee and they couldn't get back in,” Commissioner Gooda said.
"We've just been sitting in here [wondering] with the rest of Australia what's happening; getting lots of calls from friends and family concerned about us being here."
While the Westin Hotel next door and other buildings nearby were evacuated, staff at the AHRC were told to stay put with no one entering or leaving the building.
Mr Gooda was there with three other commissioners including Children's Commissioner Megan Mitchell, Race Discrimination Commissioner Dr Tim Soutphommasane and Age and Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Susan Ryan.
Speaking from the fifth floor, the Commissioner said he could see police running around and a traffic jam along Pitt St for the first few hours but said now the streets were deserted.
Note: All staff at the Commission have now been sent home.