Tuesday, 17 October 2023
As a servant to the many different people who make up our one Queensland community, I speak to the motion that Senator Wong moved yesterday on Hamas attacks on Israel and the ongoing conflict. Firstly, though, I briefly mention the minister's answer to my first supplementary question in question time yesterday. I asked about remarks the minister had made to the media in a press conference where the minister restated and amplified remarks that were made earlier in the day to the children of Cheng Lei, an Australian and Chinese citizen who is back in Australia following a period of incarceration in China, having concluded her sentence in prison. I am, of course, very pleased to see Cheng Lei free and reunited with her family, yet the minister chose to spin my question in a way that contradicted the events of the press conference, apparently to avoid actually answering my question. The minister's comments were widely reported after her press conference. Responding to me yesterday, as the minister did, by invoking a motion was an inappropriate and false reflection.
Turning to this motion on Hamas, I fully support Senator Wong's motion and her speech on the matter yesterday. Her speech was balanced, reasoned and befitting of an Australian foreign minister. It's true that the actions of radicals have caused untold death and suffering on both sides of the conflict. The minister said what needs to be said, and I refer everyone to her speech. The content, clarity and quality of her speech means I only have one point to add. There's a chance this conflict could escalate to a catastrophic war, and the need to avoid that happening must be paramount in the minds of all involved. We have seen many such conflicts over the years, and there's one truth from them all: the sooner a ceasefire is declared, hostages are released and both sides sit down and talk to each other, the faster the suffering can be brought to an end. May peace be with us all soon.