shadow

THE HON MICHAEL DANBY MP
SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION,
SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR THE ARTS
MEMBER FOR MELBOURNE PORTS

My comments deal with a different aspect of the national security debate, particularly as it affects volunteers in Australia who are protecting institutions in my electorate and others, and the implications of the events that recently happened in Denmark.

The Danish Prime Minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, led hundreds of mourners recently at the funeral of Dan Uzan, a Danish citizen who was one of two people killed in a shooting spree in Copenhagen just a few weeks ago. Security was tight at his funeral, the police out in force with sniffer dogs. I want to give him a name. Uzan was an individual—a giant of a man, six foot nine—who, in minus 10 degrees, stood outside the Copenhagen synagogue, protecting a party of 80 12-year-olds, a bat mitzvah. Two apparent drunks tried to get in. They got past the police with their machine guns. He refused to let them in; he refused to believe that they were not putting on an act, and his act of incredible bravery led to his being shot in the head by this terrorist and the police only then waking up themselves and being shot by these two individuals, who got away, one of them later to be shot and killed.

Dan Uzan, 37

The mother of the girl whose bat mitzvah was held that night said:

We feel like Dan stopped the terrorist with his body. He was our hero even before this incident. He was a kind-hearted man, a good soul. Dan and the other guards who were there are the true heroes of this incident.

That is what Mette Bentow said; she is the mother of Hannah, who was celebrating, as I said, her bat mitzvah with 80 other 12-year-old girls. She said that synagogue was protected by that hero, Dan Uzan.

Also killed in that shooting spree in Copenhagen was Finn Norgaard, who was killed at the Copenhagen Cafe earlier. He was a Danish film director who produced documentaries for Danish television and in 2004 produced Boomerang Drengen—Boomerang Boy—about an Australian boy’s dream of becoming a world boomerang champion. These events directly affected Australia.

The late Danish filmmaker Finn Norgaard, shot dead in Copenhagen

I wish the ABC had humanised the victims more, because there are thousands of people, every weekend and during the week, who stand outside Australian institutions, particularly Jewish institutions. They are volunteers who, like Dan Uzan, guard institutions from people like this, because of the security circumstances that we live. They do not have, unfortunately, armed police, as they do in Europe. Perhaps it is a good thing that the situation is not so bad in Australia that it demands it. But they have no-one to protect them, and I honour their work and understand their fear of the events that happened in those place.

I think it is appalling that the ABC had on its Q&A program the execrable woman Margolyes, who, of all the actors in Australia, had to be brought on toQ&A to comment on international affairs. She who said, quite disgracefully on this program on Monday, that anti-Semitism is quite understandable. It is not understandable in any circumstances. The death of those people is not justifiable, Ms Margolyes. You are a disgrace, and the ABC is a disgrace for putting you on.

Eighteen months ago, the Abbott opposition agreed with the then Labor government to continue the program of secure schools funding that I initiated with the previous government in 2007. I am very grateful that this funding has continued—and it has continued in my electorate to the extent of millions of dollars. It is absolutely necessary despite the blandishments and stupidities of Miriam Margolyes and the fools who put her on Q&A and who support her views. These events around the world directly affect us here in Australia. Can you imagine being an unarmed person standing outside the Elwood Synagogue, as they do, every week when I see them, a lovely couple of twins who live around the corner who look after their elderly mother, and their contribution to Australian society is to act as a volunteer to protect their fellow Australians in that institution. I honour them and I honour every person who does that kind of work that Dan Uzan did outside the Copenhagen Synagogue.