Bill's Speeches










Mr Speaker, Mr Ambassador.

When the first explosions were heard inside the Stade de France on Friday November 13, Patrice Evra was the French player in possession of the ball.

Evra was born in Dakar, Senegal.

On the field with him that night were players with family in Angola, Tunisia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Men of different faiths and cultures, brought up in different traditions – all wearing the famous blue of the country they love.

And in the number 12 shirt, Lassanna Diarra, a practising Muslim who was not yet to know that his own cousin was amongst those killed that night.

Just a year ago, Diarra himself was wrongly accused of having joined the Islamic State.

Now here they were, claiming responsibility for the murder of a woman he described as ‘a rock, a support, a big sister’.

This is just one man, mourning the loss of a loved one.

Those same scenes of trauma and sadness are being played out across Lebanon, Mali and France as people slowly come to grips with the evil deeds of the past fortnight.

Indiscriminate, immoral, inhuman murder – that we condemn today on behalf of all Australians.

Mr Ambassador

Please know, that as one country and one people, we offer our heartfelt condolences to your nation and to the people of France, especially those mourning the loss of someone they love.

Mr Speaker

It does not matter what faith terrorists invoke, if they invoke a faith.

It does not matter what imagined injustice they pretend to have suffered.

It does not matter what name terrorists claim to act in, or what flag they wave.

Regardless of the religious symbol they claim to love - the nightmare is always the same: spreading fear, inciting hatred and division.

And whether it occurs in Beirut or in the air above Egypt, or Bamako or Paris, every act of terrorism is equally cowardly and equally abhorrent.

Because every human life is precious - and every death is mourned.

Every act of terrorism is an affront to our humanity – wherever it happens and whoever it affects.

Mr Speaker

As reports of the bombings spread across Paris, people began gathering in the Place de la Republique.

In the centre of that famous square stands a statue of ‘Marianne’ - the national symbol of the Republic, an idealisation of liberty and reason.

In her right hand she clasps an olive branch, her left hand rests on a copy of the Declaration of Rights of Man and the Citizen.

On the pedestal beneath her, a lion guards a representation of the ballot box.

Liberty. Peace. Justice. Democracy.

Virtues carved in marble, etched in stone.

Tested and tempered in war and revolution.

Paid for by the courage, faith and sacrifice of generations past.

The attack on Paris was not just an assault on a city beloved by the world.

It was an attack on the qualities that Paris embodies.

It was an assault on the fundamental right of free people to live in peace.

An atrocity designed to divide the world.

And, even in those early hours, as people around the world sought to make sense of the senseless.

It was clear that the terrorists had failed.

They failed because our world will not capitulate to fear.

Australians, like the remarkable Tasmanian student Emma Parkinson, reminding us that we will never yield to division.

We will stand together.

Many races, many languages, many faiths – but one people.

We share a common humanity that binds us, and guides us.

We rededicate ourselves to that today.