House debates

Thursday, 3 September 2020

Statements by Members

Beirut: Explosion

1:34 pm

Photo of Julian LeeserJulian Leeser (Berowra, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise to speak about the disaster that occurred in Beirut on 4 August this year, which was a great tragedy, with over 160 people killed and over 6,000 people injured. The enormity of this tragedy is absolutely staggering. I wish to offer the people of Lebanon and the Australian Lebanese community my sincere condolences. Their loss and heartache must be overwhelming.

Australia is home to over 230,000 Lebanese Australians. For almost a century, the electorate of Berowra has been home to a large number of these Lebanese Australians and Australians with Lebanese heritage. In fact, nearly 3,000 people in Berowra claim Lebanese ancestry and 752 people were actually born in Lebanon. The St George Maronite Catholic Church in Thornleigh has been a beacon and focal point for the Lebanese Maronite community for over a hundred years. This parish has flourished and offers many in our community a place of solace, particularly at this time. We have a vibrant, generous, hardworking Lebanese community throughout my electorate, and Lebanese Australians have succeeded in every field of endeavour, from horticulture to the hospitality industry, to trade, construction, education, the professions and more.

The explosion in Beirut and the horrific scenes which followed would have been gruelling for many in my community. My heartfelt condolence goes to all the Lebanese families in my electorate who've been affected. To those impacted by the events of 4 August: know that Australia stands with you not just by providing humanitarian support and aid but in solidarity as you continue to deal with the impacts of the Beirut explosion and the ramifications it's having for so many people beyond Lebanon.