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Monday, 22 September 2008
Page: 8183

Ms PARKE (6:43 PM) —In September 2001 the United Nations General Assembly declared that the International Day of Peace should be observed annually on 21 September, as a day of global ceasefire and nonviolence. The UN Secretary-General has noted that observance of this day would provide a pause for reflection by the international community on the threats and challenges we face, and relieve those involved in violent conflict of the daily burden of fear.

During my time with the United Nations, one of the things that disgusted me most was witnessing the use of cluster bombs—bombs that open in midair, dropping hundreds of smaller bombs. Many of these bombs do not explode on impact but remain in trees and on land as a deadly legacy, killing and maiming civilians, including children, years into the future. The government’s continued strong support for the international treaty to ban cluster bombs, which I understand will be ready for signing by the end of the year, will be an important contribution to reducing global violence.

I note that my predecessor in the electorate of Fremantle, Dr Carmen Lawrence, moved a motion on 11 September 2006 recognising the International Day of Peace. In her speech, Dr Lawrence quoted former US President Dwight Eisenhower, and I think it is worth reiterating those words today:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.