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Thursday, 26 November 2015
Page: 13929

Mr PERRETT (Moreton) (16:26): I rise to speak on indulgence in response to the Prime Minister's statement on the recent horrific terrorist attacks that have occurred around the world. As Australians, we stand side by side with the people of Paris, of Ankara, of Baghdad, of Beirut, of Mali, of Kenya, of Pakistan, of Jerusalem, of Tunisia, of Egypt and of the many other cities and countries that have experienced cowardly attacks this year. We here in Australia have also not been safe from the horrors of terrorism. Just last month, Curtis Cheng was going about his daily life, serving the people of New South Wales. He was leaving his workplace, where he performed that public service in Parramatta, when he was gutlessly killed in an act of terrorism.

We mourn for all the families of those killed by terrorists this year and before. We mourn and we stand in solidarity, but I also passionately acknowledge that we will not have our freedoms taken from us by these cowards and/or misguided young people. Terrorism is not a religion. Terrorists are criminals who cloak their criminal activities in the ripped and distorted veil of religious extremism. Australian citizens must always be careful not to let our fear of terrorism manifest itself in the hatred of any of our neighbours who follow the Islamic faith. Fear breeds hatred and intolerance. It can be easy to get caught up in the spreading of hate if we become fearful. It is our responsibility to make sure that hope quashes fear. We cannot control our neighbours, but we can talk to them, even if they are different, come from another country, have different religions or—even worse!—follow a different football team. The very worst thing that we could do is ostracise a group of Australians because of their religious beliefs or other beliefs. If we do that, the terrorists win. We must, despite our fears, be an inclusive nation. When we do so, we are at our best as Australians.

I have seen in my electorate of Moreton Australians doing just that: everyday people being inclusive and not only that but sharing that they care and that they have concerns for their neighbours, colleagues, schoolmates and even, especially, for the strangers in our community. Surely one of the best tests of whether someone is a decent human being is how they treat a stranger.

Mr Speaker, I will give you some examples of the wonderful contributions being made by the groups in my electorate of Moreton, which I have the honour of representing and serving. I commend Yeronga State High School—not just their staff, but the broader community—for their advocacy in trying to free Mojgan Shamsalipoor from detention and allow her to remain in Australia with her husband. They will continue to support Mojgan and advocate on her behalf until she is free. I commend the Annerley 5 Neighbourhood Watch for their work on the renaming of the Clifton Hill Peace Park, a great little activity. Next year, they hope to hold a safety seminar for the local community. I commend the MacGregor Lions club—my Lions club, not that I am an active member—for their great health expo, which they also plan to recreate next year. It is a great service for the south side community, and an activity that highlights the importance of men's health. I also commend Yeronga Community Plus. They hold a free community breakfast each Thursday, and will continue to do this into next year. They also provide a great 'give and take' program. I dropped in to see them last week and helped out with the community breakfast. It is a pretty smooth ship that they operate, and the camaraderie and friendship between the staff, volunteers and patrons is inspiring.

Debate interrupted.