A Melbourne father accused of striking his estranged wife 24 times with a hatchet so hard it got stuck in her skull has told police he is the real victim.

"I am her husband. She is my wife. She has been sleeping with another man," the 45-year-old accountant is reported to have said at the bloody scene in a Melbourne shopping centre on Monday.

Yesterday, he sat quietly in the dock in Melbourne Magistrates' Court, except when he made an unsuccessful bail application.

Magistrate Jonathan Klestadt refused him bail, saying he showed a "total lack of remorse" and releasing him would be dangerous for his estranged wife, and others.

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Klestadt said the man seemed not to subscribe to the rights of the individual to pursue happiness with whomever they chose.

A detective gave evidence the couple had been separated for 12 months when on Sunday, they bumped into each other while she was with her new partner. He asked her if she was happy and she said she was.

The next day he went to her workplace at Fountain Gate shopping centre in Narre Warren and "observed" her.

Then he went to his car, got a 39cm hatchet he had bought at Bunnings and returned carrying the weapon in a plastic bag.

He gave his estranged wife some documents to sign.

While she was reading them, he struck her in the face with the hatchet, the detective said.

He struck another 23 times on her head, back, arms and legs. The hatchet blade got lodged in her skull at one point and he had to use force to pull it out.

As she lay on the floor, he drove the blade into her leg and a small piece broke off, lodging in the wound, the detective said.

The assault was recorded on CCTV cameras and witnessed by many, the detective said.

Police charged the man with attempted murder and assault offences. He told them his relationship with his wife of 15 years had failed because of her unfaithfulness, and he wanted her to learn a lesson.

"He wanted to injure her face because she was worried about her beauty," the detective said.

The accused complained the Australian court system was "regulated around the female" and he was the victim in this situation.

The accused told police he'd only used 50 per cent of his strength during the attack.

The court heard he'd long been a violent partner but in 2014, his wife went to police for the first time because of his threats.

"Tell your relatives in Sri Lanka that I am going to strangle you," he'd said at the time.

The accused successfully applied for his and the victim's name to be suppressed to protect their 10 and 15-year-old children from distress because of media coverage.

The case was adjourned to July 4 and a mental health assessment for the accused was ordered.

Police have been unable to speak to the victim because she is in a serious condition in hospital.

- AAP