House debates

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Statements by Members

Anning, Senator Fraser

1:46 pm

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

by leave—Australia is the greatest country in the world. We are democratic, open and free. We welcome people to this country based on what they can bring to our nation. For a member of this parliament to suggest that Australia's immigration policy should be based on either race or religion is appalling. It is morally wrong. There are lots of shades of grey in political debate, but nothing could be more clear-cut than this. We are a big-hearted nation. We must always remain that way. We get things wrong, of course, but we get most things right. We know that judging people based on where they were born is a base and malicious form of discrimination. We know that what matters are your actions, not where your parents are from.

Earlier today, the member for Chifley gave an eloquent and moving speech in which he said we should focus on the things that bring us together. He is right. From time to time, bad actors will try to divide us, but they will always be a tiny minority. Australia's history shows that big ideas triumph over small ones and light triumphs over darkness. In Australia, decency prevails. Let's always keep it that way.

1:48 pm

Photo of Peter KhalilPeter Khalil (Wills, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

What we have seen today in this parliament is a condemnation of a racist and fascist worldview that was promulgated in the other place. It was rightly condemned all around because it was hurtful and hateful, divisive and destructive. Being Australian is not about your race, your ethnicity or your faith. Being Australian is about embracing our democracy, about embracing equality before the law as a principle and about that quintessential Australian value of a fair go for all. We have heard from our political leaders today that we're the most successful multicultural country in the world. Why is that? It is because our multicultural model doesn't force us to choose between our identities. We can be proud of our cultural heritage and of our faith and still be proud to be Australian. Indeed, that is what it means to be an Australian. That diversity is a strength of our Australianness. We will not allow, here in this place, the far right to spread their hatred, hiding behind the cloak of free speech.

Free speech has never been unlimited. That's why we have laws on defamation and against vilification. What we've seen today is a reaffirmation in this parliament of faith in human decency, a rejection of judging others based on the colour of their skin or their faith and empathising with our fellow human beings based on what they say and do. We can be that Australia that gives a fair go for all, regardless of where we come from.