Here are all the biggest news headlines you need to know this afternoon.
LATEST: Prime Minister Tony Abbott has delivered a press conference.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has spoken to the media in a press conference this afternoon, describing the events of the past two days as “testing and taxing”; a tragedy that has “echoed around the world.”
“This has been absolutely appalling and ugly incident,” he said.
“Our hearts go out to the families of Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson.
“Decent, innocent people who got caught up in the sick fantasy of a deeply disturbed individual.”
He also thanked and congratulated the NSW Police on behalf of the Australian Government.
“Everyone has been impressed by the speed of the NSW Police response. The thoroughness of the preparations they made and the professionalism of the action that they took.”
He also thanked the public for their response to the tragedy, saying that it was typical of the Australian character to show decency and generosity and describing the spontaneous shrine at Martin Place was an expression of our “goodness and decency”.
He reiterated his previous assertion that “there are people in a society such as ours who wish to do us harm,” but said he was impressed with our “grit, stoicism and equanimity.”
He described Man Haron Monis as “a deeply disturbed individual,” and conceded that despite being well known to federal police and ASIO, Monis was not on any terror watch lists and had been granted bail in spite of serious criminal charges.
NSW Premier Mike Baird also spoke to the media and echoed the Prime Minister’s gratitude to the NSW Police for their handling of the crisis, thanking them for their professionalism and determination.
“A beating heart of the city has been put in place,” he said of the Martin Place shrine.
“This city is alive. It is beating despite the challenges we have endured.”
“Look at the hope and look at what we can do when we come together.”
Premier Baird said he would be working with the federal government to investigate the event and hinted that he may push to review the state’s bail laws.