DELIVERED IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
For the remainder of my time, I would like to pay tribute to four angels who will forever watch over the Abdallah and Sakr families: Antony, Angelina, Sienna and Veronique. A year ago an unthinkable tragedy ripped away the lives of these angels. An entire community—indeed, an entire city and nation—grieved with them. None of us could imagine the terrible heartache, the loss and senselessness of this tragedy, and the outpouring of emotion was profound. But it wasn't just the collective sense of grief which moved so many people; it was the way in which Danny and Leila Abdallah, in Leila's words, 'chose forgiveness and love over hatred'. It was a moving tribute to four beautiful, innocent children who have changed our world in ways they never would have dreamed. The date of 1 February is national I4Give Day, acknowledging their legacy and encouraging us all to live lives of forgiveness and compassion.
A year ago in this place I quoted Mr Abdallah when he spoke of being a part-time worker and full-time father. He truly moved me, and I know he moved many in this parliament. He did so again this week when he said:
… I am in pain. My days are empty. My heart is aching. Tears of hopelessness visit me each day. I am dying on the inside and it's hard to take much more.
I forgive myself and I forgive the offender for the greater good of my family … and I promise you if my children were here today they would say, 'Dad, forgive him.'
Rest in peace Antony, Angelina, Sienna and Veronique.