Bill's Speeches

STATEMENT ON INDULGENCE: PETER GRESTE


STATEMENT ON INDULGENCE


PETER GRESTE


HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES


TUESDAY, 24 JUNE 2014


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Madam Speaker

 

Like all Australians, I and Labor were appalled by the grievous injustice dealt to Peter Greste last night.

 

Our first thoughts today must be for Peter Greste and the entire Greste family.

 

The family were shocked by the totally devastating news.

 

Peter’s parents Juris and Lois, have won a nation of admirers for their optimism and stoicism throughout this ordeal.

 

His brothers, Mike and Andrew, have been strong, and were among the throng in an Egyptian courtroom yesterday, to hear their worst fears confirmed.

 

All the Grestes should know that the Australian Parliament will stand with them for however long it takes to free their beloved son and brother.

 

We believe fundamentally in the freedom of journalists to be able to do their work.

 

It was Thomas Jefferson who said that:

 

Liberty depends on freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.

 

No journalist should ever be imprisoned for doing their job, for reporting the news.

 

And for as long as Peter Greste - and more than 200 journalists around the world languish in jail – the freedom of all of us is diminished.

 

Madam Speaker, I agree with the Prime Minister in the need to a calm approach.

 

Moments like this stir something elemental in the spirit of all free people.

 

These are times when passions run high – but the best interests of Peter and his colleagues will not be served by inflammatory rhetoric.

 

This is a time for diligent, calm and focused diplomacy.

 

It is what Australia owes the Greste family – and it is the duty all of us owe to a fellow Australian unjustly imprisoned far from home.

 

This morning, I wrote to the Prime Minister to advise that Labor will be taking an entirely constructive and bipartisan approach to this situation.

 

Today, I say to all members of the Government, on behalf of the Labor Party, we are ready and willing to assist your every effort.

 

We will do whatever we can to help.

 

But I also recognise that for all our fine words, Peter Greste is still in jail in Egypt.

 

The real challenge is to bring him home.
ENDS

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