Prime Minister offers Bondi's 'bollard man' Australian citizenship after 'extraordinary bravery'

CCTV captured the tense moment Geurot, standing at the top of the escalator, waved a bollard at Joel Cauchi who killed six people at Westfield Bondi.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has responded to calls for the French national dubbed "bollard man" to be granted Australian citizenship after his "extraordinary bravery" during Saturday’s mass killing — saying he is "welcome to stay for as long as [he] likes".

In the wake of the shocking attack, which left seven people dead, including the attacker Joel Cauchi who was shot dead by NSW Police officer Amy Scott, footage emerged showing Damien Guerot facing off against the knife-wielding killer in an attempt to contain him.

CCTV captured the tense moment Geurot, standing at the top of the escalator, waving a bollard at the 40-year-old perpetrator in an attempt to stop him in his tracks, with his actions being praised as "heroic". He had not long before arrived at Westfield Bondi Junction with his friend Silas Despreaux when the horrifying attack unravelled.

Left: Damien 'bollard man' Guerot during interview after Bondi stabbing spree. Right: Prime Minister Anthony Albanese during press conference.
Prime Minister Another Albanese praised Damien 'bollard man' Guerot for his bravery during Saturday's mass killing at Westfield Bondi Junction. Source: 7News

Anthony Albanese praises 'Bollard man's' courage

Since Guerot's heroic act, a Sunshine Coast solicitor started a campaign to have Guerot's bravery rewarded with Australian citizenship after it was revealed his visa is set to expire in July.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday morning, Albanese agreed Guerot "stood bravely" in the face of danger on Saturday which ultimately helped protect other shoppers from being injured or killed.

Addressing the growing calls to make him a citizen, the PM said, "I say this to Damien Guerot, who is dealing with, his visa application, that you are welcome here".

Damien Guerot in a white t-shirt standing at the top on an escalator holding a bollard fighting off Bondi killer Joel Cauchi holding a knife.
Damien Guerot was seen fighting off crazed killer Joel with a bollard during Saturday's attack. SourceX

"You are welcome to stay for as long as you like, this is someone who we would welcome becoming an Australian citizen," Albanese continued."We thank him for his extraordinary bravery.

"It says a lot about the nature of humanity at a time when we are facing difficult issues, that someone who is not a citizen of this country, stood bravely at the top of those escalators and stopped this perpetrator from getting onto another floor and potentially inflicting further carnage on citizens.

"I think that on Saturday we saw some of the best of human character at the same time as we saw such devastating tragedy. And I thank Damien for his extraordinary efforts."

In a statement to Yahoo News Australia, Andrew Giles, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, agreed, "Mr Guerot’s extraordinary bravery is an example of the character we all want to see in our society."

"I am aware of Mr Guerot’s case and have asked my Department to look into visa options for him," he said. "Once again, we thank Mr Guerot as well as other members of the public, our heroic police officers and first responders who have helped protect others from danger."

The lawyer behind the campaign, Belinda Robinson, Principal Solicitor at Robinson Law told Yahoo News Australia it's "absolutely amazing" to hear Albanese's remarks this morning.

"The French Ambassador from Canberra has contacted Damien today — the Australian government contacted the French government about him. The French Ambassador will provide an update to him shortly," she confirmed to Yahoo.

Petition to help Damien Guerot signed by grateful Aussies

The construction worker, who has lived in Australia for eight years, is currently on a bridging visa — a temporary visa which allows a non-Australian citizen to remain in Australia for a certain period of time and expires in July.

Belinda said she contacted the Guerot after he was identified as "the bollard man". "I couldn't wait to reach out to him just to say thank you in the first place for the incredible act of bravery," she told Yahoo, revealing she's since been trying to help with his options regarding permanent residency.

"He reached out to me and said that he was so grateful. He sent me a really lovely message just saying that he really appreciates [me trying to help him]," she said.

Robinson, who described the Frenchman as a "humble" man, said he has been "bombarded" with attention since the incident.

"I think it's so helpful for there to be more awareness for him so that we can get more people to sign the petition and more people to try and help," she told Yahoo.

The Queensland lawyer on Sunday started a petition requesting signatures to help in their plight. So far, the petition has gained 1,295 signatures of the 1,500 required. "His brave and courageous act gave police time to arrive to contain the situation, it is unknown how many lives he has saved by his act of selfless heroism," she wrote.

Aussies agreed "he belongs" in Australia after stepping up to help take down the crazed Bondi killer.

"He is a hero and we need people like this in our country," said another who signed the petition. While a third agreed, "This is the character of person that we want in this country".

Police and ambulance vehicles outside Westfield Bondi Junction following the mass stabbing.
Police outside Westfield Bondi Junction following the mass stabbing incident. Source: AAP

Heroic tradies describe coming face-to-face with Bondi killer

The French native described the harrowing moment he and his friend Silas Despreaux came face to face with the "empty-eyed" killer. They'd not long before arrived at the shopping centre when the horrifying attack unravelled.

"We tried to catch him but we were going down the stairs, then we saw him going down, so we followed him from the top and tried to throw the bollard at him, but we couldn't," Geurot told 7News on Sunday night.

"I just thought, we need something to catch him," Geurot said. "We didn't think, you cannot think in that moment — it's just like adrenaline. His eyes were like empty eyes, he wasn't there."

Despite his incredible bravery, Despreaux, who joined his mate in trying to fight back against the knifeman, told the network: "I'm not going to lie, I was scared".

"But you cannot just stay away and not do anything," he added. "He was just determined to kill people."

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