Bondi Junction stabbing: Pakistani security guard injured in Westfield attack to be offered residency

<span>Australia is considering offering residency to security guard Muhammad Taha for his actions at Westfield Bondi Junction on Saturday.</span><span>Photograph: Reuters</span>
Australia is considering offering residency to security guard Muhammad Taha for his actions at Westfield Bondi Junction on Saturday.Photograph: Reuters

A Pakistani security guard stabbed in the Bondi Junction attack will be offered permanent residency or citizenship, after Australia made a similar offer to a French citizen, Anthony Albanese said.

On Thursday the prime minister said all those who showed bravery during the Westfield Bondi Junction attack on Saturday were a “light in amongst the darkness” and deserved Australia’s gratitude.

The government “certainly will” consider extending a residency offer to Muhammad Taha, he said, later telling Nine’s A Current Affairs he was “very confident” it would happen on Friday.

“He certainly is the sort of character that we want to see continuing to contribute here in Australia,” Albanese said.

“The minister has spoken with … Muhammad, and we wish him every swift recovery. We see no reason why this shouldn’t be approved and I’m very confident that it will be approved tomorrow.”

Albanese confirmed Damien Guerot, dubbed “Bollard Man” for his efforts confronting alleged attacker Joel Cauchi with a bollard at the Bondi Junction shopping mall, will be given permanent residency in Australia.

On Thursday The Australian reported that Taha, who was seriously injured in the Bondi Junction attack, had asked why he had not been offered the same since he and colleague Faraz Tahir, who was killed, had also confronted Cauchi.

“As a direct victim of the incident, I believe I deserve recognition and consideration for citizenship,” Taha reportedly said.

Related: Bondi Junction stabbing: French man who confronted attacker with bollard to receive permanent residency

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

Albanese was asked on Thursday if the government would consider offering residency or citizenship to Taha on the same basis as Guerot, in recognition of his bravery in responding to the alleged stabbings.

“Yes, we certainly will,” Albanese told Adelaide’s FiveAA Radio.

“Damien Guerot, the French citizen who was praised overnight by my friend president [Emmanuel] Macron who was out there very proud of him … what he [Guerot] was after, he was here on a temporary visa, he was after a permanent visa, not to change his citizenship, but a permanent visa will be granted to him today.

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“And certainly, the circumstances where people are there working as security guards, the tragedy of Faraz Tahir who lost his life, this other person Muhammad Taha, he confronted this guy, the [alleged] perpetrator Joel Cauchi, on Saturday [will be considered].”

“It just shows extraordinary courage, these are people who were … not thinking of themselves … putting themselves in danger protecting Australians they didn’t know, just people going about their shopping.

“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.”

Earlier, the deputy prime minister, Richard Marles, said that “certainly the actions of Mr Taha were enormously brave, there’s no doubt about that”.

“I’m not aware of the particular applications that Mr Taha has … but I’ve got no doubt that his circumstances will be worked through,” he told Radio National.

“The notion that the sort of bravery that Mr Taha exhibited is what we want to see in this country is, of course, right.”

The opposition leader, Peter Dutton, was asked whether he supported the same rights being extended to Taha on Thursday after earlier publicly supporting Guerot’s offer of permanent residency and saying he “embodied the Anzac sprit”.

“Well, that’s obviously an issue for the prime minister,” Dutton said of Taha.

“I think, at the moment, the focus really is on those who have lost their lives, those who are recovering, and I think any other matter can be dealt with in due course.”