MEMBERS STATEMENT | DARWIN SHOOTING

Mr Melhem: In news that has become too familiar in the past months, I was saddened to see that another cowardly act of violence occurred in Darwin on Tuesday evening—a deliberate and deadly attack by a lone gunman who has left four people dead and several injured. One of the dead was a taxidriver on his break with no connection to the killer. Survivors report surreal scenes of indiscriminate firing and mindless violence on account of one man’s thoughtless rage. At this time we do not know why he did it, and perhaps the reason does not matter, for violence of any kind is always senseless; there is no reason, no excuse, no justification for violence. This is the third time in nearly as many months that I have stood in this place to speak on senseless violence—that is three times too many. One of the survivors said, ‘It just seems so insane’, and they are right—it is insane. It is easy for us to shut our hearts off to violence, to become desensitised, but we cannot let that happen. Christchurch, Sri Lanka, Virginia Beach, Darwin—remember them. The Northern Territory Chief Minister said, ‘This is not the Darwin we know’. He is right: this is not the Australia we know. It is certainly not the Australia we want to know. To the families and survivors, I wish you the strength to carry on. To those that did not make it, may you rest in peace.