House debates

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Statements by Members

Beirut: Explosion

1:52 pm

Photo of Julie OwensJulie Owens (Parramatta, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise today to offer my sincere condolences to the people of Lebanon and the Lebanese community here in Australia for the grief and loss they continue to experience following the tragedy, in Beirut, on 4 August. This is an unimaginable tragedy, an ongoing one that affects everyone in the Lebanese community here and right around the world. For a community that has such strong family connections, many count loved ones among the more than 200 dead, the 6,000 injured and the 300,000 people who are now homeless. We have a strong vibrant community of Lebanese background in my community. Australians all hold Lebanon in their hearts, and today those hearts are broken. I say to them: I am so sorry that, after all you've endured, you've had to endure this unimaginable event.

Your response, your offers of help to Lebanon, has been extraordinary. It's a community, I've come to know, that comes together, a community of strong family, cultural and faith connections that is so generous to each other in the best of times and that comes together, like no other, to support each other in the worst of times. That's what we've seen: individuals, organisations, emergency drop-off locations for donations, warehouses that were filled so they had to pause the donations, pallets of goods leaving for Lebanon, money being raised. Much of the support has been organic, through social media, but backed up through these incredibly strong existing networks and local organisations. It really is quite amazing, and we see the community at its best.

I would usually recognise people by name, but every person I've asked— (Time expired)