Social inclusion and harmony

Address to the House of Representatives, Statements by Members - Australian Society

Thursday 16 November 2023

At the beginning of this week at the National Prayer Breakfast, more than 500 leaders came together in the Great Hall to hear Danny and Leila Abdallah's inspiring story of the power of forgiveness. This morning, at the ACU interfaith breakfast, leaders from all our faith communities came together in a celebration of the diversity and tolerance that holds our nation together. It is critical to bring together people of goodwill from all our communities, and for me it was heartening to see so many friends from the Bean community.

There has been much debate in this place in between that has been less than edifying—debate that has sought to sow discord and division; debate that stokes hatred over love. It was disappointing that there was an attempt to bring some of this approach to the interfaith breakfast this morning.

Words matter. We have a responsibility to do much better: to act in support of social inclusion and harmony, in our midst and also throughout the world. In the words of Sister Giovanni Farquer today: 'May we reach out with renewed courage and compassion to lift the burden of those with whom we journey, and to reignite in one another the spark of hope for a world where all humanity will live together in righteousness.'