I acknowledge the traditional owners of this land, the Gadigal People of the Eora Nation, and thank the communal organisations who have brought us together tonight.
Thanks also to Rabbi Elton leading us in a memorial Prayer and Kaddish.
I acknowledge other dignitaries who have joined us tonight, including The Premier and the Federal and State Opposition leaders.
I am here representing my good friend the Prime Minister who is in Melbourne and has just met with Jewish communal leaders at St Kilda Shule.
Tonight we meet in the shadow of barbaric attacks on Israel by Hamas. Babies. Children. Mums and dads – slaughtered in their homes, their bedrooms.
The taking of hostages, including children.
These are the acts of terrorists.
They are abhorrent.
We condemn them unequivocally.
And we stand in solidarity with Israel.
These acts of deliberate terror are an affront to everything Australians hold dear.
Australia has called for the attacks to stop, and for the immediate and unconditional release of all those taken hostage.
More Jews were killed on Saturday than on any day since the Holocaust.
For a people who have known the horror of genocide, this fact is simply devastating.
I express my deepest sympathies to those impacted by these appalling acts of terror.
I know many of you wait anxiously each day to hear from loved ones in Israel.
And many have deep concerns about a rise in antisemitism here at home.
Antisemitism has no place in Australia.
Hate speech has no place in Australia.
Just as we stand with Israel, we stand with the Australian Jewish community.
People come to Australia because they want to live and raise their family in a country that is peaceful, tolerant and respectful.
I’m sure that’s one of the reasons my great great great grandparents – Abraham and Sarah Baxter – migrated here to join Melbourne’s growing Jewish community well over a century ago.
And I want to assure you – we will do all we need to do to keep the community safe.
Australia holds you in our heart.
We are horrified and we grieve with you.
We will stand with Israel and always will.
Am Ysrael Chai