I am aware that there are many Australians who were supportive of Van Nguyen’s execution. It is easy for people to be unforgiving and to loathe those who they believe by their actions perpetuate the misery of drug abuse. But we must never allow such feelings to cause us to lose sight of our humanity. I cannot therefore agree with those who support capital punishment. Putting aside all the moral and legal arguments that militate against the use of capital punishment, for me personally it is a simple case of a profound belief that no human being has the right to take the life of another under any circumstances. I particularly derive this conviction from my own Christian faith, which preaches the sanctity and dignity of life and the power of forgiveness and mercy. I know this to be an absolute truth applicable in all circumstances without exception.
I want to take this opportunity this evening to refer to the Victorian election result and reflect on what an Andrews-led Labor government will now mean for the people of my electorate. First, I would like to congratulate Daniel Andrews and his team on their wonderful victory on Saturday night, and I certainly look forward to working with them for the benefit not only of Victorians but also of my electorate in particular.The Victorian state election was as much a judgement on the federal budget as it was on the four years of a state coalition government which effectively saw policies and measures taken that hurt Victorians generally and provided little or no support to the many people and families who live in my electorate. In fact, I well remember that, upon coming to office four years ago, the now former coalition state Liberal government stripped away from my electorate $30 million that had been allocated and budgeted for by the previous Brumby Labor government for the redevelopment of the Broadmeadows train station centre. This was a bad omen indeed for my constituents, and, unfortunately, it did not get any better for them, as our local families and communities were largely ignored by the Baillieu and Napthine governments.
In moving this motion, I want to first acknowledge that in 1977 the United Nations declared 29 November the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. I also want to acknowledge that 2014 has been declared as the United Nations Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.I want to remind the House that it has been 67 years since the partition of Palestine and the occupation, which continues until today—an occupation that is devastating, demoralising and damaging for all involved. The time has now come for this to end. Australia, and indeed this parliament, must now recognise the state of Palestine. Australia must vote yes at the UN for Palestinian Statehood. Fifty six per cent of Australians are in favour of this and 135 countries have already done so.In his message for the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon affirmed that:We have passed through another sombre, sad and sorry year for Palestinians, Israelis and all who seek peace. Over the course of 50 brutal days this summer, the world witnessed a ruthless war in Gaza — the third such conflict in six years.
I begin by commending the member for Swan for bringing this motion to the House, and I full well remember his very important speech five years ago to this chamber. So I would like to begin by acknowledging that it has been five years since the then Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, delivered a national apology to the forgotten Australians and former child migrants. Around half a million people were affected by this terrible chapter of Australian history—people who, as children, were separated from their families, raised in institutions and deprived of love, of basic health care, of educational opportunities, and of a sense of security and self worth. So many of them suffered much worse than deprivation; they were physically, sexually and emotionally abused. The national apology did not and never could completely heal the deep and longstanding wounds of the forgotten Australians, but hopefully it began a slow process of ensuring that they would no longer be forgotten.
I begin by associating myself with the contributions made by many of my colleagues on the passing of Gough Whitlam. I offer my
It is a privilege to be able to rise and speak today on the motion put forward by the member for Gellibrand. The member and I share a border; the western border of Calwell. The member for Gellibrand is fortunate enough to have a large number of Vietnamese-Australians living in his electorate of Gellibrand, and I can indeed boast that, of the 220,000 Australians who speak Vietnamese at home today, I have about 1,200 living in the federal seat of Calwell. I have on occasions in this place spoken about them. I would like to take this opportunity to mark the 40th anniversary of the Vietnamese community's presence in Australia.
I want to congratulate the Turkish sub-branch of the Victorian RSL and its President, Ramazan Altintas, for initiating and making a reality the Turkish Friendship Memorial Sculpture. Its official public announcement ceremony took place today in Melbourne.Ramazan Altintas has pursued the idea of a memorial sculpture for many years and, despite earlier setbacks, his efforts and those of the community have now come to fruition. The sculpture will be built on Birdwood Avenue, Kings Domain, Melbourne, in the gardens of the Shrine of Remembrance. It will be an enduring symbol of the friendship between our two countries, Australia and Turkey.
The recent report by the University of Canberra's National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling details the impact of the federal budget on electorates across the country. The report has finally exposed beyond doubt this government's real intentions and twisted priorities and lack of commitment to the overall welfare of the Australian community. Through its budget of broken promises and unfair cuts, this government is hurting my constituents the most, putting families under pressure, pensioners under pressure and young people under pressure. Calwell is the most adversely affected seat in Victoria and in the top 16 most affected nationally.