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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 14 May 2019) . . Page.. 1523 ..

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

MADAM SPEAKER (Ms J Burch) took the chair at 10 am, made a formal recognition that the Assembly was meeting on the lands of the traditional custodians, and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Sri Lanka terrorist attacks

Motion of condolence

MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Social Inclusion and Equality, Minister for Tourism and Special Events and Minister for Trade, Industry and Investment) (10.02): I move:

That this Assembly expresses its profound sorrow at the loss of life following the devastating terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka on Sunday, 21 April 2019.

On behalf of all Canberrans, I share this Assembly’s deepest sympathies with those affected by the cruel, senseless and cowardly acts of violence which took place in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday. I would like to acknowledge the presence in the Assembly gallery this morning of Acting High Commissioner Dissanayake from the Sri Lankan High Commission, who has joined us this morning.

We are very proud of our city’s strong and diverse Sri Lankan community. Canberra’s Sri Lankan community includes people from all cultural groups, including Sinhalese, Tamil, Moor, Burgher and Malay, and people from different faiths, including Buddhists, Christians, Hindus and Muslims.

Our city has always been a place where everyone is welcome, regardless of their place of birth, the colour of their skin, their cultural background, religion, language or socio-economic status. Canberra’s Sri Lankan community plays an important unifying role in bringing people from different cultures and faiths together to support each other and to celebrate their shared cultural identity.

These attacks have had a profound impact across the globe, with casualties from many countries, including Australia. As we meet today, the death toll stands at more than 250 people, with many more being treated for serious injuries and trauma. These were innocent people expressing their faith on an important religious occasion, tourists enjoying their holidays and people just going about their normal business on a Sunday morning. These attacks were perpetrated by cowards—plain and simple—because only cowards indiscriminately kill the innocent. I know I speak for all Canberrans when I say we will never accept violent extremism, and in our opposition to this we are unified and unwavering.

Canberra is a city that has always stood for diversity, compassion, inclusion and acceptance. Extremist views have no place in this city. Indeed, they have no place in any society around the world. When we take the time to look beyond what divides us, we see that there is so much more that unites us than can ever be imagined.

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