Page 1930 - Week 06 - Thursday, 5 May 2005

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The Canberra Museum and Gallery’s exhibitions and vital work are to be commended, and the spirit of enthusiasm and dedication which comes through from staff associated with those very impressive facilities is something of which we can all be proud.

Holocaust Remembrance Day

MS MacDONALD (Brindabella) (6.21): Mr Mulcahy has put me in mind that, yes, tonight is the Holocaust remembrance ceremony at the National Jewish Memorial Centre and today is Yom Hashoah, which is a very significant, solemn and sombre occasion for anybody of Jewish heritage, which I am.

Members may or may not be aware that my maternal grandparents escaped Nazi Germany. My mother was born in Nazi Germany. My mother was actually born thanks very much to a Catholic hospital which took her and my grandmother in. Without that hospital taking them in, my mother would not have survived and I would not be here today. Some people may say that would be a good thing, but I had no option.

Mr Mulcahy talked about never again. I would certainly like to hope that it would never happen again. Unfortunately 2005, also in April, marked 30 years since year zero in Cambodia. While this was not done on the basis of religion, there was certainly huge slaughter of human beings. Before 1975 and since 1975 we have had numerous occasions where human beings have tried to wipe each other out. I just name the Tutsis and the Hutus in Rwanda. Over the eons, human beings have continued to do terrible things to each other.

I agree with Mr Mulcahy’s assessment that Yom Hashoah is an incredibly important, solemn and sombre occasion. It is a reminder of the terrible things that human beings will do to one another. It is also, I think, a good time to reflect on the goodness that terrible events can actually bring out in other human beings.

One should never forget that, for bad things to happen, good people do nothing. I think that is the message that we all need to take away, to make sure that we do prevent human annihilation, human suffering, human torture of each other. Those of us who would seek to do good should stand up and say no when bad things are happening.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

The Assembly adjourned at 6.25 pm.

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