Page 2348 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 5 June 2013
proud. Yunupingu leaves behind his wife and six daughters. No doubt they, too, will continue to carry his message forward into the future, as will, perhaps, his best known song, Treaty.
When future Australian generations listen to it in decades to come as the gap continues to close and life outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples continue to improve, they will be able to reflect on the struggles of the past and a magnificent voice that helped shine a light on them. That voice, those lyrics, that moment in time will never fade, and I offer my condolences to his family.
MS BERRY (Ginninderra) (6.33): I rise tonight to speak on an issue of truly significant importance. Yesterday I joined with my friends in the Turkish community at a demonstration to draw national attention to the violent response of police to a peaceful protest in Turkey’s Taksim Square. On 31 May a group of concerned residents had gathered in Taksim Square to protest the conversion of Istanbul’s last green space into a shopping district. Over the course of the day the protest grew to a significant size and riot police moved in to physically break up the peaceful crowd using tear gas and pepper spray. This act of violence has sparked further violence from both the protesters and their government. Images of violent clashes across Istanbul are now being seen around the world.
Listening to stories from our Turkish community, some of whom have friends and family protesting on the streets of Istanbul today, I can only imagine their anger and fear over such violence in their usually safe and peaceful home. The issues that are fuelling the protests in Taksim Square are complex. They are of the development of a nation’s capital city and of the nature of the society that exists within it. In many ways these protests are part of a larger conversation being undertaken in Turkey about their national identity and, as such, it is only appropriate that they should be determined by Turkish nationals.
I joined yesterday with our Turkish community, not to express views on these complex issues, but to collectively defend the right of all people across the world to use peaceful protest as a way to progress their cause. Often coming together is how we physically demonstrate the strength of our convictions.
Peaceful protest has a fine history in this country. It protects workplace safety, progresses the rights of disenfranchised groups and offers a chance for everyday people to have their voices heard. Just as fine is our history of response to protest. Standing with Canberra’s Turkish community yesterday, no-one was afraid of the few police around. They were not afraid for their families or their jobs. They knew that they had a right to express their views, and in doing so they highlighted the need for their friends in Turkey to be able to feel the same safety in Taksim Square.
Finally, I would like to pass on my condolences to the families of Abdullah Comert and Mehmet Ayyalitas who have been killed during the protests. The death of a young person who is campaigning for a future they will not get to see is deeply sad and my thoughts are with their families, communities and with all the people of Istanbul who have been affected by this violence.