Australian Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin’s revelations in Senate Estimates last night that the alleged Australian Christian Lobby bomber chose the ACL office as the location for his dramatic suicide attempt seemingly contradicts comments made by the police in December when the incident occurred.
ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said that after two months of being led to believe the attack was completely random, he was disturbed to hear the Commissioner’s revelations.
“What has changed since December 22 and now?” Mr Shelton said today.
When Commander Mark Walters of the AFP gave a media conference on Thursday December 22, the morning after the bombing, he was directly asked the question whether the driver was intentionally at the ACL. Despite being asked several times, the AFP refused to acknowledge that the driver did intentionally target the ACL building. (transcripts below).
In fact, the AFP went to some lengths to publicly and privately state that there was no connection to the ACL building. Yet last night in the Senate Hearings Mr Colvin said: “We do believe that he knew it was the Australian Christian Lobby but he was (not) driven by any ideology based on anything the Christian lobby had done or said.”
Mr Shelton said he was deeply disappointed that knowledge of the bomber’s intent in choosing the location was withheld until last night.
“I would like to know why the police withheld this information from the public,” Mr Shelton said. “Mr Colvin’s revelations raise more questions than they answer.”
Transcript extracts and full video of the interview with Commander Mark Walters of the AFP
3 mins 56 seconds of clip from December 22, 2016:
JOURNALIST: …the building of the ACL, was he intentionally at that particular place?
WALTERS: Again our investigations are ongoing to establish the full circumstances in relation to this particular incident.
4 mins 14 seconds:
JOURNALIST: Are you able to say the Christian Lobby was not the target of this attack?
WALTERS: As a result of our conversations with the male individual last night we are confident that the incident is not politically, religiously or ideologically motivated.
JOURNALIST: “You said as part of the investigation you believe it is not politically or religiously motivated. Did he (the alleged perpetrator) even know what building he was at? How did you come to that conclusion?”
WALTERS: “As a result of our conversation with the individual.”