We’ve all been shocked by the terrorist attack in Christchurch, we’ve all been devastated by the terrible loss of life.
Innocent worshippers in their mosque, at prayer. People at their most humble and vulnerable, gunned down in an act of hate-filled terror. This was an attack on the Muslim faith and it was an attack on all people of faith.
Attacks like this are designed to scare us and divide us, to drive us apart. I want you to know we won’t let that happen.
This is a time for all Australians to come together, to prove this act of evil doesn’t represent our country or our values.
We are all lucky to live in a marvellous multicultural nation; our home has been enlarged and enriched by generations of migrants, from all around the world.
People who have joined their stories to ours, who have worked hard, made sacrifices and helped grow our community.
The best of Australian multiculturalism has always been about us finding common ground, bonding over our shared love of this country and our shared hope for the future.
This is what we value, when we value multiculturalism: parents raising children, friends coming together, neighbours looking out for one another. People volunteering, caring, people putting in and giving back.
Because what makes a good Australian is not measured by how your ancestors got here, or the number of generations they’ve been here. What makes a good Australian isn’t determined by the amount of money you have in your bank account or the postcode you live in.
What makes a good Australian isn’t the god you worship or the person you love. What makes a good Australian is what is in your heart.
What makes a good Australian is how you raise your children, whether you respect the laws of this country. What makes a good Australian is ‘kindness in another’s trouble and courage in your own’.
This is the powerful truth of our national success. It’s a truth we need to hold on to and to assert, loudly and proudly, every time we hear someone trying to whip-up fear, or peddle hate speech.
The lead-up to the terrible events in Christchurch shows that words matter, words can hurt, words can feed hatred and that hate can lead to something deadly. But amidst the sadness and grief and trauma of the past few days, we’ve been reminded that words can bring us together too. The Muslim community, in particular, has shown tremendous leadership in that regard.
All of us must strive for that spirit now, for words – and deeds – of healing and hope and inclusion.In these testing times, Australians of all faiths and traditions must stand together.
Bill Shorten MP
Leader of the Opposition
Authorised by N Carroll ALP 5/9 Sydney Avenue Barton ACT