Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has condemned a stabbing attack on author Salman Rushdie, which has left him in a serious condition.
Mr Rushdie was just about to address a free speech event in New York State on why the US should help writers in exile when the man leaped from the audience and then stabbed and punched the 75-year-old.
He was flown to a hospital where he was placed on a ventilator and is understood to be unable to speak and may lose an eye. Another man was also injured.
Mr Albanese was among world leaders offering his thoughts to the author, branding the attack on Salman Rushdie as an assault on global freedom.
“Terrible news of the sickening and cowardly attack on Salman Rushdie in New York,” the Labor PM tweeted on Saturday.
“This senseless violence against a celebrated author is also an assault on global freedom of expression and deserves unequivocal condemnation. May he have a full recovery.”
A state trooper working security at the American event arrested 24-year-old suspect Hadi Matar from Fairview, New Jersey.
Police say they have not yet found a motive, but Mr Rushdie had previously been the target of a death warrant issued by Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini after penning his 1988 novel, The Satanic Verses.
The book, his fourth novel, was in part based on the life of the prophet Muhammad, and many Muslims believe that to be blasphemous.
Mr Rushdie, who was born into a Muslim Kashmiri family in Bombay, now known as Mumbai, before moving to the United Kingdom, has faced death threats since.