For those born in this century, the evil of the Holocaust may have once seemed like something distant and foreign – a barbarity confined to a bygone era of history.
On October 7, Hamas terrorists invaded Israel. They murdered 1,200 innocent civilians. They acted with glee as they tormented their victims, gang raped and mutilated women and tortured children. They gloated about killing Jews. They filmed their monstrous acts with delight. And they have said they would repeat their attacks until Israel is destroyed.
On that day of depravity, we were reminded that, despite all the Jewish people have endured in history, they still face an existential threat.
In the aftermath of October 7, as citizens of democratic nations marched in cities chanting slogans calling for slaughter of Jews, we were reminded of the age-old, enduring and shape-shifting nature of anti-Semitism.
This International Holocaust Remembrance Day will be most profound and poignant for Israelis and people of Jewish faith around the world, including here in Australia. It will be a day when the horrors of history feel more familiar and palpable in the context of recent tragedy.
Today, we remember the six million Jews who were the victims of the Nazi regime. We commemorate the lives of all those killed on October 7. And we pray for those people still held hostage by Hamas.
A Coalition Government will provide $8.5 million for Australia’s Holocaust museums which includes $5 million to research, design and develop commemorations and exhibits for the October 7 attacks. The victims’ stories will be told, their memories enshrined and their bravery preserved. And the exhibits will remind Australians of the modern dangers of anti-Semitism.
The Coalition will also ensure a commitment by the previous Coalition Government of $3.5 million for the Queensland Holocaust Museum and Education Centre is delivered in full and available to support ongoing operations.
Most importantly on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we remember that the story of the Jewish people is one of strength, solidarity and survival. There is a remarkability at the core of the Jewish character which has seen the Jewish people triumph over subjugation, persecution, dispossession, exile and massacre in history. And it is that same remarkability which will see them prevail over present ordeals.
The Coalition will always speak up with moral courage.
We will continue to point out Hamas’ tactic of keeping innocent Palestinians in harm’s way to maximise civilian casualties as part of the terrorist organisation’s global propaganda campaign to portray itself as the victim and Israel as the villain.
We will continue to call out acts of anti-Semitism on our own soil so that perpetrators are held to account and face the full force of the law.
And where moral cowardice, moral equivalence, moral ambiguity and moral qualification creates a moral fog, we will seek to dissipate that fog by speaking the truth which restores moral clarity.
27 January 2024