Thank you for giving me the honour to be here today to commemorate with you this important day.
Amongst the tragedies of the 20th Century, one which is as brutal and evil as anything in our history was of course the Holocaust. Where 6 million Jewish people were murdered, which constituted almost a third of all Jewish people in Europe.
Those numbers are almost unfathomable when you think about it. When you read the stories about it, they make you weep. But to me, as a non-Jewish person, what particularly brings this horror home is when you do speak to Holocaust survivors, of which we have seven here and there are 1000 remaining in Australia. Typically for those holocaust survivors, their memories are still so clear about those tragedies. Sadly, those holocaust survivors won’t be with us forever, and it’s particularly important as to why today we’re announcing $750,000 from the federal government towards building a museum and education centre right here in partnership with the ACT government and in partnership with the ACT Jewish community. Because sadly, we still need to tell these stories and it’s almost more important than ever.
Because antisemitism still exists in in this country. We see it in the fact that Jewish schools are systemically the only schools that need to have high level security around them, even the early child care centres. We see it in terms of sometimes we still see boycotts against some Jewish businesses. The Treasurer mentioned the fact there is still unbelievable graffiti using swastikas in this country. We saw this in the election campaign, the Treasurer himself faced it.
So, we still have this evil which exists in this country. But our hope and our ambition is by putting money towards this centre and having a centre here in the ACT and mirroring this centre around the country, that people will be able to come here to read about the stories, to understand the experience, to read about the evil which occurred and to hopefully educate people so that it never happens again.
That is our ambition, I know that is a shared ambition with the Chief Minister and the ACT government and indeed of course with the Jewish community here in the ACT.
We look forward to working alongside the ACT government in the months ahead and the Jewish community here to design and build this new museum and our ambition is that school children will come through here and they will learn more about it. And as the Treasurer said our further ambition is that this occurs around the country, and more children, more adults will learn about our past.
We must never forget the tragedies of the Holocaust, we must never forget the evil which underpinned it, the evil ideology which caused it.
And this centre, this day, is an important part of ensuring exactly that.