I join with the fine speeches of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and support very strongly without hesitation the motion that's before the House at the moment.
We condemn racism; whether it's within this place or outside of this place, anywhere around our country. All of us unite together to fight against the scourge of racism. We always have and we always will.
I've had a number of proud moments as the Immigration Minister and as the Home Affairs Minister over the course of my time in this portfolio. One of the proudest times was only a couple of months ago where I met again with the Sora family in Broadmeadows in Victoria. They are an Iraqi family. There is a Mum and Dad and two boys and a young daughter who had only just been born a few months ago.
It was an emotional catch-up because I'd issued their travel documents to them in Amman more than 12 months ago and they were part of the 12,000 people from Syria and from Iraq that we facilitated to travel to our country to call Australia home – not to be ashamed of their heritage, not to ever forget their heritage – but to celebrate their heritage and to be a part of the Australian community I hope forever.
Their stories are replicated in the hundreds of thousands over the course of our history, our very proud history. There have been periods eluded to by the Prime Minister and by the Leader of the Opposition where both parties wouldn't look back on with great pride, but there are many where we would and there are many moments where both parties have stood up at a time when they've needed to stand up. It's been to the betterment of this country and it has resulted in one of the greatest countries in the world that we are very honoured to represent in this Chamber.
We say that because people have come from four corners of the earth. There are good and bad people that come from every race, every religion, every country, every part of the world and we celebrate the good in our country. We make sure that we continue to be united by the values that have stood us through war, through peacetime, in drought, in natural disasters otherwise and those values will always be adhered to by us and by our successors and we owe it to those people that have gone before us to make sure that we condemn that racism as I mention.
Senator Anning's comments have been properly condemned and in a number of ways they've been touched on today, particularly in my mind, with a focus on their impact and the comments which would be deeply offensive to the Jewish community and to many people within the Islamic community within this country as well.
It is inconceivable that reference to the 'final solution' could be derived with any other intention and it should be condemned.
I was at home the other night watching just late night television before I went to bed and flicked on to Schindler's List and it brings a tear to any persons eye as you watch that movie and I couldn't tell you how many times I've seen it. The horror that people went through during that period – part of the reason that we stand up for the values that we do today is that we will never see that horror revisited again – and it's important that we make strong statements to that effect today.
I was interviewed recently about a Chinese family in my area who have gone on having come here originally in the 1860s and been a part of the Australian community for a long period of time – they had created significant wealth – I worked in the butcher shop which was a tenant within a shopping centre that they owned and I was asked about a kid growing up in the 70s in Brisbane about racism towards Chinese families. I am a proud Queenslander, but I'd be the first here to admit that Queensland doesn't have the multicultural past of a Melbourne or of a Sydney, but nonetheless my first memories of jumping the fence to share a Chinese meal with our neighbours was never influenced or coloured by any sense of racist suggestion or belief or view within our community. It was accepted that they were like my family: hard working, middle class family, kids that went to our school and it influenced me as it did many people in this Chamber of their own experience and it does in electorates right across our country.
We celebrate all of those stories and going into shopping centres today and into a 7-Eleven where you might have somebody from a Middle Eastern background or an Indian-Australian working in a shop are tomorrows millionaires.
These are people who are entrepreneurial, who share our values, people that are prepared to work the night shifts, prepared to work on the weekends, prepared to sacrifice to go without the luxuries that many of us would enjoy, to provide an education for their children. That is the celebration of this great nation and it has been for generations and we will always make sure that we protect and defend that story, that message because it is what has served us as I say in good times and in bad.
So it is a time for all Australians to recognise that we have a special responsibility. Part of the reason I believe that the Government has strong support for last year bringing in more migrants into this country from offshore than any time in three decades, is because of the fact that we've been able to control our borders. Now there are aspects that are controversial, some aspects that are bipartisan and as people on both sides of this Chamber know, you need to make tough decisions in this portfolio, but the reality is you make decisions which result in providing confidence that the Australian people can have in us continuing a strong migration program.
There are people being rescued and people going to the bottom of the ocean on the Mediterranean as we speak and we don't want that in our country. Some of the migrants who are strongest supporters of our Operation Sovereign Borders or of our migration program in this country, are those people that have migrated most recently and want to see people come in an orderly safe way to enjoy what Australia has to offer.
We wouldn't have be able to bring the 12,000 Syrians, the Sora family that I met in Jordan, if we didn't have in my judgement an orderly migration program. We must continue to make sure that we say no to people, regardless of their race or religion, who would come here to seek to represent values inconsistent with those I've just detailed. We should never apologise for that. We need to make sure that we keep our country safe.
There are plenty of threats from pockets of our community, from people that would seek to distort the Islamic religion, people that would seek to cause harm for their own twisted ideologies otherwise. They must be called out for what they are, but they don't represent the majority in any community. It's blatant.
I say to people all the time who say to me, 'we should stop Muslim migration or we should stop people coming into our country,' intellectually it is incompatible to say that you can have a migration program where we think every person from a particular race or religion is bad or good. As I said before there, are the vast majority of people that come from many communities who are good people who deserve to live in our community and will make a wonderful future. Those that don't, don't belong in our country. We are very clear about that and the Government's position won't change.
Today we celebrate what is great about our country and we turn it into an opportunity to talk about the success, not just of the Chinese migrants growing up in my community in the 70s, not just people that have been here for generations before that. Regardless of their path or their means to our country, people have made a wonderful contribution. We owe them a lot for what they have contributed. We work with them shoulder-to-shoulder to protect our values and to protect our future.
But today we do call out that which is wrong, that Senator Anning has detailed as his view in the Senate. We work together, we renew our efforts to make sure that this country remains as great as it has always been. I'm very pleased to join with the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, the Deputy Leader and subsequent speakers on this very important topic.