House debates

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Statements by Members

Beirut: Explosion

1:48 pm

Photo of Chris BowenChris Bowen (McMahon, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Health) Share this | | Hansard source

Lebanon is a beautiful country which has experienced far too much tragedy over the years. Yet more tragedy befell Lebanon on 4 August. I'm sure all Australians, including every single member of the House, were shocked and disheartened to see the terrible footage out of Beirut on 4 August. Beirut is a city I know. I know the port. I know the area around the port. I know how built up and developed it is. I know how many thousands of people live around that area, and I know what impact this had. We know that Australia has a strong, vibrant and proud Lebanese diaspora. I know that many Australians of Lebanese heritage spend time in Lebanon each year, visiting their family, and many have a residence also in Lebanon. Our condolences go to every single Lebanese Australian and to the nation of Lebanon, particularly for two-year-old Isaac Oehlers, the cute, adorable little boy who lost his life in the blast, one of the 154 people who were killed in this blast. It has been compared to a nuclear explosion in the middle of one of the world's most significant cities.

I want to pay my respects to all who lost their lives and to send my condolences to all. To all my constituents of Lebanese heritage, whether they live in Guildford, Granville, Yennora or anywhere else in my electorate, our thoughts are with you. I want to pay tribute to the Australian embassy, to the ambassador, Rebekah Grindlay, to all the staff, who've worked so hard, and their families, like the ambassador's husband, Darren Lim. All have contributed to supporting Australians in Lebanon, and we thank them for their service.