Senate debates

Monday, 18 October 2021


Amess, Sir David Anthony Andrew

7:36 pm

Photo of David VanDavid Van (Victoria, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise to pay tribute to Sir David Amess, the Conservative MP who was tragically murdered last week. He was the MP for Southend West, a town that I lived in for a short while earlier in my life. He was the MP at that time, but I never got to meet him; I wasn't involved in politics at that point in my life. But much of his work I've heard about through those of my friends and family who are still living there. I have a beautiful goddaughter, Natasha, who still lives there, and she and her family have been quite troubled by this. Sir David was described as one of the kindest, nicest, most gentle people ever to have served in politics. Even his opposition have described his profound sense of duty as something that we all should aim to be like, and I would certainly like to do that myself.

Sir David was the lead parliamentarian for the Conservative Friends of Israel. I and some of my colleagues in this place are patrons of the Liberal Friends of Israel. I share his deep passion for Israel and for the Jewish community. He famously said:

Although I myself am not a Jew but a Catholic, there is Jewish blood in each and every one of us.

Having been brought up a Catholic, but my life partner being a Jewish woman, I understand his sentiments very well. He said:

I would certainly have been proud to have been born a Jew, and I stand shoulder to shoulder with our local Jewish community—

a sentiment I share and one that I think we in this place should all think about.

While it was a terrorist attack, and no doubt violent religious extremism was involved, I'm sure even Sir David would have said this is not a time for racism. This is a time for forgiveness. This is a time when we can bring our communities together. So I rise, even so briefly, to pay tribute to Sir David. I send my prayers and thoughts to his family and his constituents and to all of the UK parliamentarians. Vale, Sir David.

Senate adjourned at 19:39