Condolence motion for victims of the MH17 air disaster

Like many communities around Australia, the Fraser electorate was devastated by the shocking loss of life in the MH17 air disaster. One of our own, Liliane Derden, died in that disaster, and in Parliament today I paid tribute to her life.

When Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 went down, it took with it someone who was from around here; someone who will leave a great gap where she lived; someone who resembled the rest of us in many ways.

Liliane Derden was a citizen of the world and a servant of the public.  Like so many locals, she could tell you what year she moved here; like so many Canberrans, she could tell you where she worked when she met her closest friend.  For many years, she lived not far from my family home, and indeed, not so very far from where we meet today.

Liliane Derden was a person entirely characteristic of this city and we all feel the effects of her loss.  But she was also a person with a private “life entire” whose death brings her closest friends and family inexpressible pains. 

Today I acknowledge Liliane – and we acknowledge the people who miss her most.

Her partner Craig.

Her daughters Cassandra and Chelsea.

Her family, in Australia and Belgium.

The Canberrans she worked with at the NHMRC and at Calvary Hospital; the communities of Ainslie and Hall where her loss is so deeply felt.

Chelsea wrote to me this week about her Mum: “she is very loved and missed by us all”.

Canberra is a considerate community.  We would never intrude, but we will never forget either, and we are here if you need us.

This was tragic, but it was not a tragedy; this was a crime.

Let the guilty be brought to justice, let the innocent rest in peace, and let those who remain know they are not alone.


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