House debates

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Statements by Members

Member for Fairfax

1:48 pm

Photo of David ColemanDavid Coleman (Banks, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I was pleased to welcome a delegation of Chinese-Australians and media to Parliament House today. The delegation visited parliament to protest against the comments made in relation to China by the member for Fairfax on ABC's Q&A program on 18 August. The comments made by the member were offensive and wrong and risk damaging Australia's relationship with China. China is a good friend of Australia's. Many Australians have Chinese ancestry, including more than 20 per cent of the residents of my electorate. Through business, education, tourism, culture and many other areas, China and Australia work closely together in a friendly partnership.

It is the responsibility of leaders to bring communities together. Remarks such as those made by the member for Fairfax are completely at odds with fostering a closer relationship with China. I am very pleased that the member has today apologised for his remarks. During the past week, many members of my local community have expressed the degree to which they have been upset and distressed by those comments. Leadership is about pursuing a steady course in the national interest. It is not about making random pronouncements or shoot-from-the-hip statements. The things that we say matter, as they can reverberate around our nation and the world. When we are talking about our largest economic partner, it goes without saying that we must be temperate and sensible in our statements.