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Monday, 28 November 2005
Page: 22

Ms ROXON (1:53 PM) —I would also like to take this opportunity to personally make a final plea for clemency for Mr Van Nguyen, as many other members have done both in the House and outside. Last Friday in my electorate we had a ceremony at the Buddhist temple in Braybrook. A large number of community members who had contacted our office, the local papers and elsewhere expressed their distress at the actions that the Singaporean government seemed determined to take, and they wanted somewhere that they could publicly voice their opposition to the death penalty. We were very pleased that the Venerable Thich Phuoc Tan agreed for us to have our ceremony in his temple. Although it was not a religious ceremony, for many people it was an opportunity to be part of the Reach Out campaign and to voice their opposition to the death penalty and their support for Mr Nguyen’s family at this terrible time.

It was awful for all of us who were there to imagine how we would feel if it were our children, our parents or our neighbours who were to be executed in the way that is intended for Mr Nguyen on Friday. I would like to pass on to the House the local electorate’s concern about this issue and to add the voices of those who attended this local ceremony to those of the many other Australians who hopefully will attend the events that Amnesty International has organised on Wednesday and Thursday to urge the Singaporean government to issue clemency in this case. (Time expired)

The SPEAKER —The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources has sought the call. I have to say that parliamentary secretaries are not encouraged to speak on 90-second statements. There being no other member standing from that side, I call the honourable member for Rankin.