MALAYSIA AIRLINES FLIGHT MH17
Ms GARRETT (Brunswick) — It is with immense sorrow that I join the statements of condolence in this house for the tragic and heinous loss of so many innocent lives in the criminal horror that was the destruction of flight MH17.
The breadth of devastation that has been inflicted on the loved ones of those lost is brutal and relentless. It is, as the shattered parents of those three beautiful children Mo, Evie and Otis agonisingly called it, a ‘hell beyond hell’. Who among us did not weep and weep and weep reading those words, looking into the eyes of those joyous children captured by a camera, their lives ripped from them and their parents condemned to a darkness that we cannot fathom.
The global community is reeling, and our community is shaken to its core: so many lives have been lost and so many Australians have been killed so far from home, half a world away, on war-torn soil. From our sporting clubs to our classrooms, from our tight-knit regional communities to our universities and businesses, we grieve for all those families and communities who have been touched by this tremendous loss. We grieve for those who dedicated their lives and considerable talents to critical research on AIDS. We grieve for those who chose to move to Australia to raise a family, we grieve for those who passionately taught in our schools and we especially grieve for those we lost who were only beginning their precious journey in life.
Within the darkness and the horror, within the distressing aftermath of this violence, we have stood together as a community. It is the responsibility of all of us to walk alongside those who are grieving, holding their hands and their hearts in our collective embrace, sharing as best we can their unspeakably heavy burden. The words in this house today — and they have been fine — are a small part of this most solemn duty, as was the service at St Pauls Cathedral. Hundreds and hundreds of Victorians attended that service, paying their respects to and honouring the victims of this disaster.
People of many faiths, backgrounds and nationalities united not only in grief but also in celebration of the lives of so many special people. This expression of faith and community replenishes our spirit and strengthens our resolve for peace, and we hope with the deepest of hope that it gives some comfort to those who are suffering so profoundly at this time.
As the catastrophic events unfolded before a horrified world, we began to learn about the wonderful individuals that we so abruptly and shockingly lost from our home. Each and every one of these individuals made huge contributions to our community, making it a better place to live. Whether it was volunteering at the local football or soccer canteen, decades of dedicated teaching or years of service as community leaders, every person we have lost left an indelible mark on those around them. We send the thoughts of this Parliament and the communities we represent to the families of the victims, and we join them in acknowledging and celebrating their important contributions to this state.
Just as grief has reached the many corners of Victoria, one of my team members, Nic McLean, who is doing a work placement in my office for his masters degree, is grappling with the loss of his close family friends the Davisons, who were on that doomed flight. My prayers are with him, with the family and with the broader community, who are all still reeling from such devastating news.
The destruction of flight MH17 has affected many individuals, many families and many nations around the world. We grieve for the tremendous loss that our Dutch counterparts have been burdened with, the terrible impact on the people of Malaysia and the many other nations that mourn their citizens. And as we all too well know, our country carries an enormously heavy weight, losing so many fine individuals and such young children, like Victorians Piers, Marnix and Margaux, whose lives were cut so violently short.
Conflicts and violence grow and fester when nations and communities harbour animosity and discrimination between people from differing backgrounds. As we grieve for this loss of innocent lives, we renew our commitment in this place to protect and enhance the peaceful diversity of our multicultural society. This harmonious multiculturalism is central to our resilience, our unity and our capacity to work towards a safe and peaceful world.
I join others in paying tribute to the six delegates en route to the 20th International AIDS Conference held here in Melbourne. Their loss is being felt not only by their loved ones but by all of us who watch with such admiration the tireless efforts of those waging the ongoing fight against HIV/AIDS. In particular we acknowledge the work of Professor Lange, a passionate advocate for improved access to HIV/AIDS medicines in developing countries.
It is clear from the words and deeds of those at the conference that the memories of their lost colleagues will be honoured with a steeling of resolve to continue the battle against this insidious disease.
Today we stand here in this place from different communities, different philosophies, different parties, and we stand together as one in expressing our personal sorrow and the sorrow of the millions of people we represent at this unbelievable horror. We stand here and hope that this message of grief and of love touches the hearts of those who have lost such precious people in their lives. We stand here and renew our commitment to peace, to justice, to the unending love of parents for their children, to the good in humanity triumphing over the darkness. And most importantly, we stand here and pay tribute to the souls of those whose lives were taken from them. May they be at rest.
Hansard, 5 August 2014