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Monday, 23 November 2015
Page: 8603


Senator WONG (South AustraliaLeader of the Opposition in the Senate) (14:04): by leave—The opposition joins with all in this chamber in our condemnation of all acts of terrorism, including recent terrorist attacks in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. We extend our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those killed in recent attacks, and we acknowledge the pain and suffering of victims. We commend military, law enforcement and emergency personnel that respond to acts of terrorism, and those who work so hard to prevent attacks taking place. We join with the government in encouraging all to maintain the values of tolerance and inclusion, which terrorists have assaulted with such awful consequence.

In the past few weeks, the world has been witness to a spate of despicable criminal acts. Murderous acts have resulted in the death of hundreds of innocents. In Egypt, on 31 October, a Russian airliner crashed over the Sinai Peninsula, almost certainly due to an explosive device. All 224 passengers and crew were killed. In Beirut on 12 November, we saw bombings outside a mosque and a bakery, killing many people and wounding more: a dreadful terrorist atrocity. And, of course, there were the dreadful events in Paris on 13 November: a coordinated shooting and bombing attacks at six locations in the heart of one of the great cities of the world and one of the world's oldest democracies—attacks which killed 130 people and injured over 300, including amongst the wounded a young Australian woman who was in the audience at the Bataclan theatre. We give thanks that she survived this ordeal. And most recently we saw events in Mali in West Africa, with people killed by gunmen in this latest attack.

Fourteen years ago, at the first sitting of the Senate after the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, the then Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Senator Faulkner, stood in this place and observed that 'the fight against international terrorism is our fight'. I again say that today. The fight against international terrorism is our fight. Australians recognise that fact. We recognise that these attacks are attacks on our values—the values of freedom, democracy and peace, the values of tolerance and mutual respect for different cultures and different religious beliefs.

When terrorists attack people in Europe, in the Middle East or in Africa, they not only put at risk Australians who are visiting those places but they also attack our values, Australia's values. That is why Australia will stand with the people of France, Lebanon and Mali as they recover from these attacks and as they bring those responsible to justice. It is why Australia needs to be part of the fight against terrorism around the world. And it is why we need to work in our own communities to confront the messages of intolerance and hatred and to protect our young people from those who would seek to recruit them to this poisonous ideology.

For the opposition's part, I again express our profound sympathy for those whose lives were taken in these latest attacks, to those who have suffered injury and trauma and to those who have lost loved ones. I want to place on record our thanks to the officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade who have provided consular support to Australians caught up in these terrible events. I again take this opportunity to place on record the opposition's support for Australian law enforcement, security and emergency services personnel—and for our community leaders and community workers—involved in the fight against terrorism at home and abroad.