Bill Shorten, Jason Clare back in calls for stronger knife penalties after Bondi Junction, Wakeley


A senior federal Labor minister says parents who let their children possess knives should “have the book thrown at them” as the country debates how to move forward after this week’s dual stabbing attacks.

In the wake of the Bondi Junction massacre, which claimed the lives of six people and injured 12 more, and the Wakeley alleged terrorist attack, which injured a bishop and a priest, NSW Police has reportedly asked for tougher knife-crime penalties.

According to the Nine Newspapers, the state’s police force has asked for sanctions for parents who allow their children to possess knives.

Education Minister Jason Clare backed in the call, saying any parents who “knowingly let their children out the door with a deadly weapon should have the book thrown at them”.

“I think every parent would stop their child leaving the house if they knew they had a knife. But if they do, they should have the book thrown at them,” he told Channel 7 on Friday.

“Premier Chris Minns has made it clear he is looking at this as well as whatever else is needed to help make sure our community is safe.”

There’s also calls for Mr Minns to follow Queensland’s lead in allowing police with metal detectors to search people without a warrant.

NDIS Minister Bill Shorten said Australia needed “nationally consistent laws”.

“It should be, if you’re carrying a knife and you use it, that’s aggravated. And you need to have tougher penalties,” he told Channel 9.

Meanwhile, his panelmate Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said there needed to be a realistic approach to the issue.

“There are different approached for different police forces … I think we’ve got to be realistic about what you can do,” he said.

“I think the other really important point here is the warning signs early on … Just people taking more notice, caring and alerting the authorities if they think that somebody has a real issue or an obsessions with knives and guns.

“The thought that we can take every knife off the street is a nice one, but we’ve got to be realistic.”

Mr Dutton and Mr Shorten did agree that social media companies needed to be held more accountable.

Both the events of Saturday and Monday played out on social media feeds, exposing Australians to graphic content.

Mr Dutton called social media companies “shameful” for not handing over more information to police.

“When you look at what the companies like Meta are doing, keeping the information from police who are investigating child sexual abuse, the images that are shared online in between those groups of men, they’re making decisions right now to make it harder for police to get access to all of that data,” Mr Dutton said.

“And I think it’s shameful. At the moment I think they’ve got complete contempt for families, for kids who spend a lot of time on social media, and the influence that they exert needs to have that social licence.”

Mr Shorten agreed, calling for change.

“The social media companies need a big rinse out, frankly,” he said.

“It’s a bit of a shame it takes the government to sort of play whack a mole here to shut down the horrible images.”