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Thursday, 21 August 2003
Page: 19300


Mr QUICK (12:59 PM) —Today I want to publicly nominate Sergio Vieira de Mello for the Nobel Peace Prize. Yesterday as we woke up we saw on our television screens the horrible scene of that press interview suddenly interrupted by blackness. Then the television lights went on and we saw mayhem and bleeding people being hustled out of the building. Yesterday the world lost a great leader. Mr Vieira de Mello has worked tirelessly for the United Nations in Kosovo, East Timor and lately in Iraq. Yesterday, as I said, his life was cut short.

During the Iraq war I stood publicly and proudly as a pacifist. It was drawn to my attention that towards the end of the war a Norwegian parliamentarian nominated George W. Bush and Tony Blair for the Nobel Peace Prize. I was absolutely amazed and horrified. A web site was set up to reject the nomination. As of a few moments ago, 98,571 people around the word had added their names and their comments to the web site rejecting this nomination. I proudly voted on the web site—I think I am No. 47,000-odd on this petition. It is interesting to read people's comments for putting their rejection of this nomination on the web site. These are not just people from America but from around the world who are disclaiming the nomination of George W. Bush and Tony Blair for the Nobel Peace Prize.

As I said, I imagine that Sergio Vieira de Mello will be nominated for a peace prize. He richly deserves it. It is not until world leaders are cut down in the prime of their life that we suddenly pontificate in parliaments and in various fora around the world about what a fantastic job they have done. I think in years to come this man will be eulogised for his untiring work for humankind. I have never met the man, but I have seen him countless times on television. I applaud what he has done. I am not sure what his family status is, but I would imagine that he has a family and a wide range of colleagues who are in mourning on this day.

If anyone deserves a Nobel Peace Prize, it is this guy. While I was surfing the web today and thinking about what I would say about Sergio Vieira de Mello, I came across a speech made on 10 June 1963, and I would like to include it in my brief statement here today as I talk about peace and how we can work towards it. This person said:

What kind of peace do I mean? What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children—not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women—not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.

That speech was made by John F. Kennedy on 10 June 1963—just over 40 years ago. I think those words typify what Sergio Vieira de Mello was on about during his life while working for the United Nations. I am not sure how I am going to do it, but I am going to get in touch with the Norwegian Nobel peace prize committee and do my little bit to nominate for the Nobel Peace Prize this wonderful man who dedicated his life to peace on earth.