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Thursday, 6 March 2014
Page: 1894


Mr COLEMAN (Banks) (13:52): I am rising to speak on a matter of significant importance in my electorate. The people of Banks seek harmony both within our local community and more broadly. Harmony within the Asia-Pacific region is of course particularly important to Australia. In this context, it is my view that the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Abe to the Yasukuni Shrine in December 2013 was highly regrettable. It is in the interests of all nations within the Asia-Pacific region not to do anything which risks inflaming tension. As Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, noted in her speech to the Alliance 21 conference, 'Visits suchas this can escalate the already tense regional environment.' We all know that for Australia, Japan and other nations in our region, the way forward is one of friendship. The visit to the YasukuniShrine works against that spirit of friendship, which we should all seek to encourage. In my view, the Japanese government should desist from any further visits to the Yasukuni Shrine.