Bill's Speeches

SPEECH - STATEMENT ON INDULGENCE - LONDON TERROR ATTACK - HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, CANBERRA - TUESDAY, 20 JUNE 2017

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Thank you, Mr Speaker.

I thank the Prime Minister for his words just then.

All of us in this place condemn this horrific attack and its perpetrator.

We all offer whatever comfort and sympathy we can to the injured and the frightened.

We send our condolences to the family mourning the loss of a loved one.

And we should all be very clear about one thing, very clear:

This attack was not revenge.

It was not retribution.

This was terrorism.

This was violence, aimed at the innocent.

Designed to spread fear and incite hatred. 

And despite the injuries it inflicted, despite the pain it caused, the attack has failed.

It failed because the people of London and Britain – whose resilience has been sadly tried far too often in recent days and weeks because the people of London and Britain are bigger, are braver, are better than the extremists who seek to test them and divide them.

Mr Speaker

So far as we know, everyone injured in this attack was a Muslim. But every one of them was an ordinary British citizen, every one of them was a person of faith on their way home from evening prayers, standing outside the Muslim Welfare House – which, along with the Finsbury Park Mosque, had helped lead local commemorations to mark the one year anniversary of MP Jo Cox’s death.

At that moving ceremony, 48 hours before an unassuming hire van rammed an innocent crowd, the general Secretary of Finsbury Park Mosque said and I quote:  

Both extremists do not represent us, do not represent our communities, do not represent our faiths.

They are a tiny minority, a bunch of murderers who only represent hatred, division and racism.

In the aftermath, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said it well:

Muslims will today be fasting, and tonight praying, and thinking once again of the heroic actions taken by our emergency services and ordinary bystanders. 

Mr Speaker

For Australians, Finsbury Park is perhaps best known for being the home of the Arsenal Football Club.

On match days, the streets (and indeed the pubs) are chock-a-block with boisterous fans, on the walk to Emirates Stadium.

Many of them – young and old – wear the jerseys with the number 11, it's for Mesut Ozil.

Mesut Ozil is for those who don't follow the English Premier Leauge, a practising Muslim.

He's a German national champion of Turkish decent.

He is a creative play-maker for the Gunners.

One of a growing number of Muslim players making their mark in the Premier League.

In January this year, against Burnley, he and teammate Shkodran Mustafi both paused to pray before kick-off.

In July, next month he’ll be on the plane coming to Australia where Arsenal will play a friendly game against Sydney FC and the Western

Sydney Wanderers and he is most welcome as is the rest of his team.

When the new season starts-off in August, I have no doubt that Arsenal fans of all faiths and none will be back at the stadium. They'll be singing and chanting, strolling the streets.

They're more interested in seeing their team than worrying about the terrorists.

Tonight, I am sure the worshippers at Finsbury Park will return to their prayers.

Because this is what democracies are about.

Despite all of our arguments here, it's what all free peoples and free nations do in the face of fear.

We do not hide, we don’t change. 

We do not vilify classes of minorities. 

We live our lives, we carry on.

We are proud of our own skin and we see no need to change.

We keep the faith - that our way of life and our values will overcome all of the adversities. 


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