EVENTS IN OTTOWA
PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
THURSDAY, 23 OCTOBER 2014
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I thank the Prime Minister for updating the House – and I welcome the Canadian High Commissioner to our Parliament.
I ask him to pass on our thoughts today are with the family of Corporal Nathan Cirillo – an army reservist killed while standing watch at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier - and the parliamentary guard who is recovering in hospital.
The eyes of the world are upon them – and they are in our hearts today.
The reservist was from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders – a regiment affiliated with the Royal NSW Regiment.
Like all reservists, he was a patriot - proud to serve his country.
The footage that has rolled across our television screens today captures something of the fear and confusion that must have gripped all the innocent people in the Canadian Parliament – and those paying their respects at the Canadian War Memorial.
It must have been especially confronting for all the diligent and dedicated staff of this building, and our War Memorial - and their families.
They serve this Parliament with honour, and they care for our War Memorial – what John Curtin called our nation’s ‘great treasure house’ with dignity and respect.
In a broader sense, all Australians will feel affected by today.
Australia and Canada share so much:
- a rich Indigenous tradition
- a Commonwealth history
- military service together
- multicultural societies
- a love of peace
- a vast and beautiful natural environment
- and optimistic, irreverent people of talent and vision.
Because of all we share, it is only natural that the two buildings attacked in Canada carry an instant feeling of the familiar – and that amplifies our surprise.
But today should not be cause for fear.
Australians should continue to draw comfort and confidence from the professionalism and skill of all those who work to keep us safe.
In our free and democratic nation our Parliament, our War Memorial, our public buildings are open to the public – they belong to the people.
Today will not change that - nothing will ever change that.
As Prime Minister Harper said today:
Let there be no misunderstanding, we will not be intimidated.
Australia stands with Canada today.
We will never surrender to hatred, violence or extremism.
Madam Speaker, I conclude with a point I have made before:
When it comes to fighting terrorism, we are in this together.
It is important that we have a bipartisan approach – we have and we do.
As Tom Mulcair, the Leader of Canada’s New Democrats said:
These acts were driven by hatred, but also designed to drive us to hate.
There is more than enough hate in the world already.
And we need to be careful not to create any more by our words or our actions.
We need to be as tough and unrelenting as necessary but we also have to remember to preserve the lifestyle and freedom we love so much.
That is what we are bipartisan about.
LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT: 02 6277 4053
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