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Thursday, 27 March 2014
Page: 3477

Ms SCOTT (Lindsay) (12:04): I rise today to convey my deepest sympathy to family and friends with loved ones aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which disappeared on 8 March 2014. As a nation we mourn the 239 lives—passengers and crew—including six Australians and two New Zealanders, aboard the flight that day. We think of the human tragedy—239 lives. There are 239 people not coming home. I would like to associate myself with the heartfelt remarks of both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition and all other speakers in regards to this tragic loss. To the families of Rodney and Mary Burrows, Bob and Cathy Lawton, Yuan Li, Naijun Gu and Paul Weeks: we send you our deepest sympathy. Sitting in the chamber here today it was very hard to listen to the personal remarks of the members for Cowan and Pearce about the intense personal anguish felt by families here in Australia but also right around the world. It is to these families, friends and loved ones that our hearts go out in this time of grief.

I would like to pass on our thanks and gratitude to the Australian Defence Force personnel now responsible for the search. We thank them for their extraordinary efforts. In the words of our Prime Minister, Tony Abbott:

The crash zone is about as close to nowhere as it is possible to be, but it is closer to Australia than to anywhere else.

The effort is made even more extraordinary by weather conditions in some of the most challenging oceanic environments. I would also like to acknowledge the efforts of many nations involved in the search and recovery activities—China, the United States, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and, of course, Malaysia. We wish all Defence Force personnel safe passage in their work and their efforts in this extraordinary task.

Over the coming days, months and years the mystery of the events that led to this terrible tragedy will generate many stories, theories and speculation. I hope we are able to recover the black box so we can ascertain what has caused this tragic loss and ensure it never happens again and also to provide closure for the families and loved ones. At all times we should be respectful of and reflective on the loss of life of mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, on the loss of 239 people who will never return home. Loved ones will ache for their return and will always feel a hole in their hearts from a life cut off too soon. We grieve for you as you try to make sense of this terrible tragedy, and we stand beside you as you try to find closure for your loss. May God bless you all.