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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese: Abdallah and Sakr families show us our better selves

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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese speaks with Maronite Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay at the Memorial garden honouring the Abdallah and Sakr children. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese speaks with Maronite Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay at the Memorial garden honouring the Abdallah and Sakr children. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese gave this address at the opening of the Oatlands Memorial for the Abdallah and Sakr children on 3 February 2024.

I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we meet. I pay my respects to their elders past, present and emerging.

I am honoured to be here in this place where love will keep triumphing over loss.

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It is always a very particular honour to be in the presence of Leila and Danny Abdallah. Two truly remarkable Australians who have not only risen from the deepest grief, they have lifted us all higher in the process.

I have always said that the very worst of circumstances brings out the best in Australians. Repeatedly, we see it in the remarkable example of the Abdallahs and Sakrs.

The worst nightmare for any parent is to lose their child. It’s hard to imagine how you would come through a loss like that—let alone with grace and compassion.

And yet that is what the Danny and Leila Abdallah and Bridget Sakr have done.

They have lived the truth that is at the heart of their Maronite Catholic faith—to forgive your enemies, to forgive as you yourself have been forgiven.

Their profound act of forgiveness is profound is an extraordinary example of going beyond what anyone could have expected.

And by setting up the i4Give Foundation to help others who are suffering, it’s safe to say they have saved lives.

In Danny, Leila, Bridget and Craig we see a courage and a strength almost beyond measure.

Their three children and their niece lost their futures on this spot four years ago.

But what Danny, Leila, Bridget and Craig have done is held out the promise of a better future for all of us.

What an extraordinary thing to. What a powerful way to honour Antony, Angelina, Sienna and Veronique.

With this memorial garden, which you fought for so hard, their memories are further honoured. Each February, every flower that blooms here will invite us to think about who they were – and who they were yet to become.

I keep turning back to Danny’s words:

“[My family] would either be stuck in the valley of pain and grief or I could lead them to the high ground.”

You have shown us all the high ground. It is the place of our better selves.

To the Abdallahs and Sakrs I say: Your spirit represents the very best of us. It represents the very best of humanity.

The light of your grace brightens the way for all of us, especially for the most important journey of all—the journey that each of us must take into our own hearts.

You have a nation’s admiration. You have a nation’s thanks.

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