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More than 100 years ago, our soldiers stood side by side with our New Zealand brothers-in-arms at Gallipoli.

The original Anzacs forged unbreakable links which still continue as our defence forces serve together in Iraq.

 

But today we face new threats much closer to home  — the threat of terrorism and extremist views within our two nations.

The bravery of those who served in the Great War and those men and women who serve in our uniform throughout the world, stands in contrast to the cowards who seek to attack innocent citizens on the streets of our cities.

 

It is the challenge of our times and we must stand united across Gippsland.

United in defence of our hard fought freedoms and our enduring Anzac values of respect for human life, tolerance, equality and a fair go for all.

 

We are all stunned by the horrific attack in Christchurch and searching to understand the evil madness which led to these killings. Our thoughts and prayers go to those directly affected by these abhorrent crimes and the New Zealand police who responded bravely to the attack.

 

How we all respond to this tragedy matters. If it makes us more suspicious, less loving and more divided as Australians, the terrorists and those who peddle their extremist views win. That’s exactly what they want.

 

But I believe we are better than that. Within us all, there is the capacity to serve — to help make a difference to our own Gippsland community and our nation.

 

We owe the original Anzacs more than just a debt of gratitude — we owe them our determination, resilience, courage and combined humanity to protect their legacy and keep building our great nations.

 

We must prove by our actions every day that we are better than those who seek to divide us with their hatred and extremist views.

 

Take care. Hold your loved ones close. We are stronger together.

 

Darren Chester

Federal Member for Gippsland

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