Wednesday, 2 December 2015
Statements by Members
On Monday night I joined with my caucus colleagues and a group of inspiring Australian Muslim women to discuss a range of issues that we are facing in our communities. The overwhelming message was clear: we need to better understand and appreciate the multiplicity of cultures, faiths and communities in Australia, celebrating both our differences and our common humanity, and we need to speak out against both deliberate and unwitting misinformation and intolerance. The negative impact this unthinking behaviour is having on the Australian Muslim community and our national psyche is disturbing.
Division helps no one, and the comments made by the member for Paterson and others opposite in recent days are particularly unhelpful. To hear that there are children of Muslim faith being impacted by intolerance and racism and questioning their self-worth and identity saddens and disappoints me. But it also inspires me to speak out and call out those who fail to understand the breadth of human experience or to show respect.
In Newcastle, we are lucky to live in a community that is welcoming and diverse, and as the federal member for Newcastle that is something that I am incredibly proud of. I believe it is the responsibility of all parliamentarians to put their time and energy towards building relationships with all members of our community and to show political leadership on tolerance and cultural diversity.
One of the marks of a free and democratic society is tolerance, understanding and acceptance of one another. We will not overcome hatred with hatred. (Time expired)