House debates

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Statements by Members

Beirut: Explosion

1:36 pm

Photo of Mike FreelanderMike Freelander (Macarthur, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise today to express my heartfelt condolences to the people of Lebanon following the devastating explosion that occurred in Beirut on 4 August. I wish to extend my deepest sympathies to the people of Beirut and to all those who've been affected by this horrific event. Macarthur is proudly home to many Australians of Lebanese background and descent, and this tragedy has sent shock waves through our community.

The Lebanese community in Australia is a close-knit community. There are many Australians who have had loved ones adversely affected. I wish to express my solidarity with this vibrant and proud Lebanese diaspora. My thoughts are with you all during this very difficult time.

Lebanese Australians have contributed greatly to our society over the years, from the fields of medicine to rugby and everything in between. The achievements of Lebanese Australians are a testament to our multicultural society. Many famous Australians are of Lebanese origin—names such as Dame Marie Bashir, Sir Nicholas Shehadie and Michael Cheika.

My thoughts are also with the family and loved ones of Isaac Oehlers, who tragically lost his life in the blast. I also want to express my solidarity with Australia's diplomatic staff in Beirut and thank them for the important work that they are continuing to do in offering consular assistance to Australians in need in the wake of this devastating explosion.

I urge anyone listening to this speech today who is in need of consular assistance to contact DFAT on 62613305. My thoughts are with you all at this very difficult time. (Time expired)