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Wednesday, 3 April 2019
Page: 14763

Mr BUCHHOLZ (WrightAssistant Minister for Roads and Transport) (16:50): I rise to offer my condolences after what was an abhorrent act, whatever prism you look at it through. Vile hatred is intolerable. I stand with every Australian who is appalled by the actions of a single hate-filled individual. It is incomprehensible, as a father, to assess the loss, the damage that was done. Can you imagine your own child being in that situation? Between my partner and I, we have five children. To lose one of them would be devastating—to have that young life taken away. It's moments like this when we need to make a stand, when we need to say that enough is enough. That's what I intend to do today. This is enough. This is enough to bring me to my feet.

Soon after the attack, the gates of one of my local mosques in the electorate of Wright, a mosque of the Muslim Ahmadiyya community, were rammed by a local, in another act of hatred. So, as soon as I was able to return to my electorate, I went and visited the imam. I sat with him and said: 'We have to stand together. We have to stand together so our community sees that I am supporting you.' There are those in our community who are filled with a lack of understanding of the Muslim beliefs, and they are of an opinion that—well, I don't want to try and pretend what some people would think. But, the more you get to understand Muslim people, the more compassion you see they have. The more time you spend with them, the more you get a sense of how much they love this country, how much they are integrated into our communities. They are our engineers, our doctors, our pharmacists. To those who look to cast aspersions on them: imagine what our lives would be if they were not in our community.

So I stand today to condemn those acts and to offer my condolences to the families, whose pain and loss I cannot comprehend. As a Catholic, in my church, before I take communion, we offer each other a sign of peace. I just ask that, as a nation, we offer each other a sign of peace.