Monday, 11 September 2023
Statements by Members
Overthrow of Chilean Government: 50th Anniversary
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the military coup in Chile, an event which marked the beginning of a period of pain, suffering, violence and oppression for the Chilean people, and the temporary destruction of democracy in that country. The coup was launched against a democratically elected government and was inspired and driven by the influence of outside parties, who justified their actions within the geopolitical rubric of the time. This justification did not account for the untold suffering which was unleashed on the people of Chile. It's difficult to minimise the sheer cost of what happened in lives and consequences. The disregard for life and intolerance of freedom that were the hallmarks of the Pinochet regime destroyed countless lives and sent thousands of Chileans into exile, including thousands that found refuge here.
I stand today in solidarity with the people of Chile, who've overcome this dark chapter in their history and are looking to their future with hope. Here in the gallery with us today is my friend the ambassador of the Republic of Chile, His Excellency Jaime Chomali; and counsellor Arturo Giadala. They represent a modern, dynamic democracy, which is a key partner of Australia. Today we remember a dark chapter of history but resolve to move forward and never repeat the failures and mistakes of the past. In the words of the Chilean President, I recognise that 'the only way to build a future that is more free and respectful of life and human dignity is to know the whole truth'.