Bill's Speeches









I offer Labor’s condolences to the family and friends of Curtis Cheng.

A decent, gentle family man.

A respected, well-liked colleague, on his way home from work – gunned down from behind in a murderous act of senseless hatred.

Two Fridays ago, as Australia prepared for a weekend devoted to sport and celebrations, Curtis Cheng’s family and his colleagues were jolted into mourning.

Just as, in the past 48 hours, we have been shocked and saddened by the terrible scenes in Ankara.

The bodies of so many, lying where they fell, covered in flags stained by blood.

Chilling images and proof that all forms of terrorism share the same two objectives: killing innocent people and spreading fear.

In particular, I am sure these incidents today strike a chord with Australians, who recall with sadness that on this day October 12, 2002, 88 of our own were among the over 200 killed by a bomb blast in Bali.

Mr Speaker

A century after our citizens first clashed in a war that did so much to shape our modern identity, Australia and Turkey share a special relationship.

Earlier today, I spoke with the Turkish ambassador-designate, to convey Australia’s sympathies and to say we stand in solidarity with our friends, condemning this act of murder, targeting supporters of peace.

This is a testing time – for the world, and for Australia.

At least 100 dead in the worst attack on civilians in the Republic of Turkey’s history.

And in Western Sydney, a man killed by a person we would all think of as a child, a 15 year old boy.

As a father, I cannot imagine the grief and guilt, the horror of your child, the one you love, choosing to end their own life by murdering an innocent man he didn’t even know.

Truly, it is beyond any parent’s comprehension.

And Mr Speaker, he is the second teenager in two years to die outside an Australian police station, seeking to kill.

Australians, though, can and should have full confidence in our security agencies, their bravery, skill and professionalism are the equal of any in the world.

Attacks on our people are thankfully rare because of their vigilance.

I place on record our commendation of the quick thinking action and courage of the Special Constables of the New South Wales Police Force.

But keeping our nation safe is a job for all of us, together.

We all want these threats to stop, we all want to work for prevention – rather than investigation.

This means co-operating with community leaders, religious leaders, grassroot organisations, parents and mentors to build cohesion.

We must give young people less reason to feel unwanted.

We should not ostracise those at risk, or push them to the margins.

I welcome and support the Prime Minister’s call for mutual respect – there can never be enough of that.

There has not been enough respect shown to the laws and values of our nation – by an extremist fringe.

There has not been enough respect shown to the right of all Australians to live in safety – by those determined to do us harm.

And there has not been enough respect shown for multicultural Australia – by a prejudiced few.

Australia will not defeat the challenge of extremism by allowing majorities to vilify minorities.

We will not overcome those who seek to divide us, or put fear in our heart – if we face them as a nation fearful and divided.

We are a nation made great by migration.

We do not just tolerate diversity, we celebrate it.

Whatever god we worship, whatever flag we were born under, we share a common loyalty to each other.

Our faith and our heritage should always be a platform we build upon, not a cave to retreat into.

This is the test that Australia faces.

If we are divided, we cannot succeed.

If we stand together, we cannot fail.