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Wednesday, 3 April 2019
Page: 14779

Mr HOWARTH (Petrie) (18:07): I rise to speak on this motion moved by the Prime Minister in relation to the Christchurch attack. I, too, want to condemn what happened and condemn the actions of that individual who cut short the lives of 50 innocent people. Murder is wrong. Murder is completely wrong and we should call it out. It doesn't matter your faith; we know that murder is the wrong thing to do in all faiths. It doesn't matter whether it's Muslims being murdered, Christians being murdered, Yazidis being murdered or nonbelievers being murdered, murder is incorrect.

I want to stand with the member for Chifley. I appreciated his speech before, whilst I was in the chair. I think the member for Chifley, as a colleague in this place, is a smart, intelligent man who has a Muslim faith. I myself am a Christian, but I really respect the member for Chifley and I want to put that on record and appreciate what he had to say here today.

I've got a small Muslim community in my electorate of Petrie, and a lot of them are good people. A lot of them are definitely great people who I value. I've met many of them quite a few times. In fact, some are actually supporters of mine. I want to put that on record. I went down to my local mosque on the Friday after the attack and I met people as they came out of their prayer time. I didn't have to say anything at all. I think the fact that I was there and the fact that I was able to shake their hands on the way out and say, 'I'm with you at this time,' spoke volumes to them. I could see that they appreciated it.

I think the member for Chifley was right before when he said that people are fearful of what they don't understand. That's the reality. Many of us get in our own little bubbles; we mix with people who believe the same thing and we don't really go out of our way to understand what other people think and believe. It's okay to have a different belief or a different opinion but when you actually mix with other people and you understand what they actually are about and why they do things, it helps our society overall. I want to put that on record.

I said in my first speech in this place in 2013 that life is about relationships. Our relationship with God is the most important—and our relationship with other people. I stand by that. I condemn these attacks and stand with the other members here in relation to that today.