Condolences – Christchurch Monques Terrorist Attack
19 March 2019
Mr Walsh I rise to support the Premier’s motion of condolence. I speak in solidarity with my parliamentary colleagues in sending a message of heartfelt condolence from Victoria particularly to the people of Christchurch and New Zealand and also to our Muslim communities both here and abroad. Last Friday 50 people lost their lives in horrific circumstances in places that should have been their ultimate sanctuary. Like New Zealand here in Victoria our people are shocked and distressed by an utterly reprehensible act of evil. Foremost in my mind as I speak here today are those 50 innocents and their families and loved ones. We grieve for those gone and for those left behind with their inexplicable pain and loss. We send our love to the wounded. We know your injuries are both physical and emotional and we pray for your healing. We send our thanks and praise to Christchurch’s first responders who did their jobs so well in truly frightening circumstances. We recognise the bravery of members of the public who did everything they could to help the injured and end the madness. We condemn the pure evil behind these attacks on our innocents. I also condemn those like Senator Fraser Anning whose views are abhorrent and are not the views of the overwhelming majority of Australians. I use the title ‘Senator’ out of respect and as a courtesy to the institute of Parliament and not to the man because I believe that in his behaviour he has demonstrated that he is not worthy of that title. I hope that this Parliament could at some stage send that message very loudly and clearly. New Zealand’s Prime Minister acknowledged that last Friday was and will be one of New Zealand’s darkest days. Here in Victoria we grieve deeply alongside the people of New Zealand because like in too many nations our own included an unfathomable horror has taken place. We know New Zealand so well. We have great love and an affinity for our neighbour and its people. We have a special bond a unique bond. We share history from centuries gone by and from recent times. We have similar experiences. We have similar values. We have similar communities made up of people from different parts of the world and those communities are strong and vibrant because overwhelmingly they are open caring and welcoming. New Zealand is a sister nation in many ways and when they are suffering we are suffering too. Our hearts are heavy with grief for the people of Christchurch and for all of New Zealand. We identify with your communities as if they were our own. In this terrible time we share your burden of grief as our own grief as we know you have shared ours when we have experienced troubled times. We can only imagine the exact horror and terror that took place inside those mosques in Christchurch but our human nature our inherent instincts compel us to sympathise to empathise and to grieve. We pay our respects. We show our solidarity. We honour the innocent victims. Our hearts break for the families the friends and the communities left behind in pain. We all have families and we are all part of communities. Many of us attend churches synagogues mosques temples and other sacred places that are part of those communities. The very last thing we expect is to be physically at risk in such places. I grieve not only for those particular communities in Christchurch but for our Muslim communities here in Australia who I know are feeling shocked and traumatised by what has taken place in New Zealand. In these times we think of what we do know of trauma through our own experiences with grief with natural disaster with terrible accidents. For some of us and the communities we are part of there have also been experiences with deliberate acts of violence and even terror. Our pain from those memories mingles now with the fresh anguish for the people of Christchurch. Many of the MPs here understand only too well what it is like to be part of a community that has experienced a huge crushing wave of heartbreak and grief and shock in the wake of an unexpected event. We know there are difficult days ahead as those left behind struggle for answers for rational explanations and for peace. It is so vitally important to come together in these horrendous times to support each other to grieve to unite to shine light where a great darkness has taken place to examine what we can do as united communities to prevent such evil in the future. And that is why today I send heartfelt condolences to New Zealanders on behalf of the Victorian Nationals and all of the communities that we represent across Victoria. Your pain is our pain. We grieve with you. Our communities are united with your communities. To echo the beautiful powerful words of the New Zealand Prime Minister ‘We are one. They are us’.