ANTHONY ALBANESE MP
LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY
MEMBER FOR GRAYNDLER
SENATOR PENNY WONG
LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY IN THE SENATE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
LABOR SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Labor is calling on the Morrison Government to work with Lebanon and the international community to deliver an independent, impartial and transparent investigation into the explosion at Beirut Port on the 4th of August, 2020.
Australians were all deeply shocked and distressed by the blast, which killed 200 people, including two-year old Australian Isaac Oehlers, wounded 7,000 people and left 300,000 people displaced.
That shock was compounded by reports that there had been multiple and repeated warnings of the danger posed by 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate being stored at Beirut Port.
Despite ongoing Lebanese inquiries into the explosion, and despite around 50 separate calls for an independent, impartial and transparent investigation, the prospect of an outcome that delivers real justice for the victims seems as remote as ever.
This is simply not good enough and amounts to a deep betrayal of the rights of the victims of this unprecedented and terrible event.
It is time the Australian Government stepped up to rally the international community to ensure that the Lebanese people get the answers they deserve.
Today in Geneva, Legal Action Worldwide and Human Rights Watch will host a side event on the proposal in the margins of the Human Rights Council. Issac’s mother Sarah Copland will participate, but the Australian Government will not be formally represented at the event.
This is yet another disappointment for Australia’s interests in getting to the bottom of how the events of that day transpired.
The Oehler family, and the many Lebanese Australians who were impacted by this tragedy, deserve better from the Morrison Government – it needs to act now.
Labor calls on the Government to support publicly such an inquiry and work with like-minded states to deliver it.
Shadow Foreign Minister Senator Wong has written directly to Foreign Minister Marise Payne on this matter, but we have seen no sign of action.
Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra.