Senate debates

Thursday, 5 August 2021


Islamic Council of Queensland Community Leaders Awards

Photo of Paul ScarrPaul Scarr (Queensland, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I was absolutely delighted to have the opportunity on 30 July 2021 to attend the Islamic Council of Queensland community leaders award s in Brisbane. It was great to see strong representation from all levels of government in attendance at the Islamic Council of Queensland community leaders awards . In attendance were my friend David Crisafulli MP, the Leader of the Liberal National Party in Queensland; Mr Mark Robinson MP ; and Councillor Kim Marx, who's a councillor for the ward of Runcorn, which has quite a large Muslim community. It was great to see all levels of government, represented by the LNP, supporting the Islamic Council of Queensland community leaders awards.

I want to make a few comments in relation to the awards. The first is: it provided an opportunity for all those people in the Muslim community who are doing such outstanding charitable work to be recognised. It was great to see the way it was organised. There was no demarcation between a special prize to X or Y. Everyone who was nominated and who got through the process got the same award. At the end of that process, the stage was absolutely packed with leaders from the Muslim community who are doing absolutely outstanding things in my state of Queensland.

The second point I want to make—the MC made this point, and it was a very good point—is to recognise that not everyone who's doing good works in the Muslim community in my home state of Queensland had the opportunity to be recognised that night. Indeed, many people in the Muslim community are doing good works without seeking any community recognition at all. They're doing it under the radar because that's what their faith tells them to do and that's what their values tell them to do, as Australian citizens. I take my hat off to each and every one of them.

What are these great works? These great works extend to all sorts of areas in terms of providing community assistance. They extend to helping farmers who were subject to drought and fires, and they extend to helping the homeless. During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, the great works have especially included helping international students who needed support to get through the period we're currently going through. So many areas of our society are being improved by the charitable impulse that lives within the Muslim community of Queensland.

I would like to pay tribute to Dr Habib Jamal, the president of the Islamic Council of Queensland. We are so fortunate that Dr Jamal came to our country. He came from South Africa via New Zealand, and he has made his home on the Gold Coast. He has held very senior positions in the Islamic community on the Gold Coast and has now achieved the position of President of the Islamic Council of Queensland. What he brings to that position is great empathy, great respect and a quiet humility. I see Dr Jamal at many multicultural events in the south-east corner of Queensland. Dr Jamal extends his hand of friendship to people all across the country, and I really do commend Dr Jamal on the contribution which he is making to our beautiful country of Australia.

I'd also like to congratulate a good friend, Janeth Deen OAM, who made sure on the night that Dr Jamal was recognised for the great work he does. In a spirit of reciprocation, can I just say that Janeth Deen is also an ornament to our community in Queensland, and she herself does great work through the Muslim Charitable Foundation, which, amongst other things, provides emergency housing to people in need. I visited the Muslim Charitable Foundation and sat down with Janeth Deen, and I went through an exercise book where she'd written the case studies of the people who'd benefited from the emergency housing provided by the Muslim Charitable Foundation. Those people came from all sorts of backgrounds. It didn't matter whether or not they were Muslim or some other religion. It didn't matter whether they were originally from Queensland or had come to Queensland from somewhere else. The Muslim Charitable Foundation was there to help them—with food vouchers, with covering electricity bills and medical bills, and with emergency accommodation.

Lastly, can I just say that the Muslim community of Queensland represents the best of Australian values. (Time expired)

Senate adjourned at 17:04