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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (23 August) . . Page.. 3301 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

demands that we treat this latest attack with the greatest sense of alarm, and to do all in our power to identify and prosecute the perpetrators.

I also think that, as a community, we must send a message, loudly and clearly, that this community will not tolerate or countenance in any way terrorism or the targeting of any group within our community. Community leaders must stand up and the community must stand together and say loudly and clearly that the singling out of any person or of any group for persecution, for vilification or attack will not be tolerated by us, and will never be tolerated by us.

It behoves us, on this latest outrageous and cowardly attack on the Jewish synagogue, and as a result of that on the Jewish community of Canberra, to declare it as simply intolerable. We in this place must send the message that as a community we stand to defend every individual, and every group of individuals. Attacks of this sort should not go without a declaration of our determination that this sort of behaviour will never be tolerated or excused.

Jewish National Fund

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Attorney-General) (5.05): I did have the pleasure of going to the 100th anniversary of the National Jewish Fund with Jon Stanhope last night. It was an excellent evening. I was highly impressed with all speakers, who included Clyde Cameron, Kim Beazley and the Prime Minister.

I join with Mr Stanhope in congratulating the National Jewish Fund on 100 years of excellent work. As he indicated, they have planted some 250 million trees in Israel since their foundation in 1901. That is one of the few countries in the world, I think, where the tree population has grown considerably over the last 100 years. It is much greater now than it was 100 years ago. That is very different from other countries in the world. I recently read a rather sad article about the deforestation of China.

The fund also has been instrumental in assisting modern Israel develop. I was very happy to see last night the messages of peace and goodwill that went out, the desire for a real and lasting peace in that troubled area of the world, and the commitment of support from both sides of the Australian federal parliament to enable Israel to live, hopefully, in peace and freedom behind secure, defensible national boundaries. The bipartisanship was very apparent last night, as indeed was the impressive work of the fund over 100 years.

Whilst I was not aware of the attack on the synagogue, I join Jon Stanhope in terms of what he has said in relation to that. I heartily endorse everything he said. Anti-semitism has been a scourge throughout history. It is quite disturbing to see that it is still there, and perhaps even in our community. I think that is a great shame because it is a scourge. No greater crime against humanity has been committed in recent times than the Holocaust, when the systematic extermination of the Jewish race was attempted by the Nazis.

Anti-semitism simply cannot be tolerated in a civilised society. I have no problems whatsoever in joining with Jon Stanhope in condemning that and condemning the senseless attack on the synagogue.

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