Bill's Speeches

ADDRESS TO THE AUSTRALIAN ISLAMIC CENTRE - SUNDAY, 17 MARCH 2019

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Salaam Alaikum.  
 
That's pretty much what I can say. Thank you for inviting Tim and myself to be part of what you do today. 
 
There are many Australians who have never set foot inside a mosque, but today, there are millions of Australians who are here with you in their hearts to express solidarity for the dreadful, dreadful murders, the killing of innocent worshippers by an ideology of hate, an extreme right wing act of terrorism. 
 
And I know that there are literally millions of Australians who want me to say to you on behalf of all of them: Today, we are all Australian.
 
Today, I am in a marvellous mosque, a place of religious worship, and what I see in front of me are Australians, are Australian Muslims, are Australians from all walks of life and we stand alongside the entire Australian Muslim community today and every day. 
 
Thank you very much for inviting us here with you all.
 
It is perhaps uncomfortable to realise that it takes a terrible event like that which we've seen in Christchurch for so many of us to stop and think about who we are as a people. 
 
Unbelievable - I never thought I would utter the words "an Australian terrorist" but that's what's happened. And that is a great shame. 
 
And where ever I've been in Australia in the last 48 hours so many Australians of all walks of life have said to me "how can this be?"
 
Because this is not who we are. This person does not represent who we are, who we want to see in the mirror. 
 
We are a generous people, we are good people, but we've also witnessed this unspeakable evil. 
 
I do not know how difficult it was for people here to go home and explain to their children on Friday night that you will be safe - for parents to reassure kids that this shouldn't happen. 
 
These are conversations none of us should ever have to have. 
 
But I want to also acknowledge that members of the Australian Muslim community have experienced a growing tide of hate speech - and we must be honest that what has happened in Christchurch has been part of a much longer journey - although this is unspeakable in its evil.
 
And what I want to promise you is that no more hate-speech should tolerated.  
 
Not all right wing extreme hate speech ends in right wing extreme violence. But all extreme right wing violence started in hate speech.
 
So there are families grieving, there are people battling for their lives and it's very early days to learn the lessons, but one lesson I promise you that I hear in my party, the Labor Party, is there's no such thing as good hate speech. 
 
If you create a swamp of hate speech then you cannot disown what crawls out of the swamp. 
 
Today I just want to express the solidarity of my party and the many millions of your fellow Australians, and I want to make this final promise to you.
 
Not only will we learn the lessons, not only will we say no to hate speech, but what I also want to say to you positively is that in coming days there'll be a debate about what is a good Australian. I want to repeat to you today what I fundamentally believe.
 
A good Australian is not judged by the number of generations you've lived in this country. 
 
A good Australian is not judged by the amount of money you have in your bank account, the postcode you live, the size of the car you drive, or the house where you live. 
 
A good Australian is not determined by the god you worship, by the person you love.
 
A good Australian is not determined by your gender.
 
A good Australian is someone who is a good neighbour.
 
A good Australian is someone who has a good heart. 
 
A good Australian is someone who adheres to their law and their faith. 
 
A good Australian  is someone who is courageous in their own troubles and kind in another.
 
A good Australian is what is in here and the way we treat our fellow human beings. 
 
I am in a marvellous building full of people of all faiths and perhaps of none.
 
And I am in a marvellous building full of good Australians.
 
Thank you and good afternoon. 


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