This is the text of a Ministerial Statement on Terrorism by Queensland Premier Peter Beattie.
The statement was delivered to a meeting of the Queensland Legislative Assembly this morning.
Ministerial Statement to the Legislative Assembly by Queensland Premier Peter Beattie.
Today we woke to news of a terrible tragedy.
The terrorist attacks on New York and Washington stunned the world and left us numb with disbelief.
There are indications that Australians may be among the victims of these criminal acts. This is a time for prayer and hope for those anxiously waiting news of loved ones.
On behalf of this Parliament and all Queenslanders I extend our condolences to the families of all who have lost loved ones in this tragedy.
As a mark of respect flags at all State Government buildings will fly at half mast today.
There is no place for terrorism in the world. Today’s attacks on democracy have changed the world forever.
A lot of innocent people went to work in New York and Washington and lost their lives as a result of this barbarous act of terrorism.
Our hearts go out to their families and friends.
Nothing can justify this mindless terrorism which has destroyed innocent lives of ordinary citizens. There is no place in our world for this mindless terrorism.
We need to ensure that out of this tragedy, if there must be change, then it must be change for the better.
It is desperately important that we preserve democracy and that we cherish the great democracy in which we live.
I hope all Australians will today think about our democracy – and think about just how great it is and cherish it for what it is.
Because it is free. And it is safe. And we have to fight to keep it that way.
I will discuss the upcoming CHOGM meeting planned for Brisbane for October 6-9 with the Prime Minister.
I have indicated to his office that I want to talk to him and I will be talking to the Deputy Prime Minister who is the Acting Prime Minister later this morning.
Queensland will be involved in discussions with the Federal Government and the Commonwealth Secretariat on the future of CHOGM.
But the standards of planning have been maintained at the highest international level and we stand prepared to host the event.
I have reaffirmed with the Police Commissioner this morning that our security arrangements are in place.
CHOGM is about improving the life chances of people from around the world – of all people in the world.
Democracy is like a fragile flower. It has to be protected. You can’t hide it.
You can’t stop people meeting. If you do that then where is the next step?
Does this Parliament stop meeting? Does the Federal Parliament stop meeting? Does the British Parliament stop meeting? Does Congress stop meeting?
We have to be clear. Democracy is about people getting together to solve problems.
It is a fundamental right that people have to get together to meet.
If we lose that then democracy is finished.
The flower of democracy can be easily crushed and without care it will wither and die.
The values of democracy dictate that elected leaders must meet and that democratic leaders have to come together to talk and grapple with the problems of the world in order to find solutions to improve people’s lives.
People must not be afraid to go about their lawful business. That’s a fundamental plank.
They must not be afraid to travel by plane to other countries.
The Queensland Government’s United States office in Los Angeles has been closed today and all staff have been told to stay home. It will reopen its doors as soon as possible.
I want to reassure the people of Queensland that appropriate security surrounds former president Bill Clinton who is in transit in Queensland at the moment. He is understandably keen to return to the United States in the near future.
If this must be a day that changed the world then we must ensure that it ultimately changes the world for the better.
Each of us must be committed to that purpose.
The perpetrators of this outrage must be dealt with. We can’t let terrorism succeed. They cannot be allowed to go unpunished.
But then we must all work to create a world where we defuse the hate that fuels terrorism.
At the conclusion of this statement I will move that it be noted – to allow the Leader of the Opposition to make a statement. He and I have had two discussions this morning about Parliament today and I thank him for his co-operation.
Following that, I will ask Members to rise for a minute’s silence.
Then, as a mark or respect to all those who have lost their lives and, of course, to their families, I will move that the House will adjourn until 9.30am tomorrow.
This is a tragic day – a tragic day for the world – a day that all of us will remember.
What we have to do as elected representatives with the high honour and responsibility that goes with that is to use every bit of resolve we have to make this world a better place.
I hope that out of this everyone here today commits themselves to that purpose.
We have a high honour. We have to take the responsibility that goes with it.
I move that this statement be noted.