Bill's Speeches

SPEECH - STATEMENT ON INDULGENCE - AFGHANISTAN TERROR ATTACK - HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, CANBERRA - THURSDAY, 1 JUNE

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Thank you, Mr Speaker.

I congratulate the Prime Minister on his words just then and I want to join with the Prime Minister in condemning this attack and those responsible.

And I want to join with the Prime Minister on behalf of the Opposition in offering our heartfelt condolences to the families of the dead, our comfort to the injured and our unwavering support for the people of Afghanistan.

Mr Speaker

The Prime Minister has dealt with some of the terrible details of this incident and the terrible toll of human life.

I would simply add this: while some injuries were suffered by foreign workers, including American and German embassy staff, the people murdered by this act of terror were overwhelmingly Afghan citizens and the followers of the Islamic faith.

I don't know if they conformed to every single letter and tenet of their religion, few people of any faith ever do.

But I suspect they were very good Muslims, doing their best to be good parents, good citizens, good people.

Living the normal lives that we all recognise and in this country take for granted: going to the shops, heading to work, taking their children to school.

And I want to say that I believe that their Islam was more true, more valuable, more worthwhile than anything that the terrorists claim to believe in.

At the beginning of this most holy time in the Islamic faith, this act of terror is a crime against Islam, and a crime against humanity.

And if we needed proof that the people of Afghanistan are infinitely better and braver than the cowards who bought this criminal bloodshed to their streets, I refer to an iconic image that I hope is the enduring image of this terrible attack.

The image to which I refer is the lines of hundreds of people who are queuing to donate blood for those injured in the blast. That is the image which I hope is the enduring image.

Mr Speaker

Afghanistan is Australia's longest war.

I honour the 41 Australians who have made the supreme sacrifice in its green valleys and dry mountains.

I honour thousands more of Australian Defence Force personnel and other agencies and civilians, who have served in Afghanistan in this longest conflict.

We have a continuing national interest in defeating terrorism in Afghanistan.

And in helping the people and the government of Afghanistan build a better, safer home for themselves, where girls and boys can go to school, where citizens can live in peace.

Labor supports the recent 30-person increase in Australia's contribution to the NATO-led Resolute Support training mission in Afghanistan, it takes our total commitment to 300.

Admiration for the courage, professionalism and skill of our defence personnel unites this chamber.

The memory that Afghanistan was a training base for some of the Bali bombers also unites this chamber.

And so too does our determination to see our personnel return home safely and successfully from this mission.

Whatever disagreements might follow in the hour or so to come, we are united in terms of our commitment to the security of Australians, both here and abroad.

And when it comes to fighting terrorism, we are all in this together.


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