Melbourne, Feb 9: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and top political leaders today condoled in parliament the death of two hostages who were killed by a gunman inspired by the Islamic State "death cult" during a cafe siege.
Abbott extended deepest and heartfelt sympathies to the families and friends of Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson for their loss and honoured the courage shown by those held in the Lindt Cafe siege in Sydney in December last year. While giving out the condolence motion speech in the Parliament on the day first day of sitting this year, Abbott declared "deep repugnance towards terrorism in all its forms."
He acknowledged the response of law enforcement and security agencies and emergency services personnel in handling the incident. He recognised the calm and steadfast response of the Sydney people and the support of Australian people for the those held inside the cafe and their families.
The family and friends of Dawson and the Cafe manager Johnson also attended the condolence motion speeches at the Parliament house along with other survivors. Abbott declared a "moment of profound unity" and said the thoughts of 24 million Australians and around the globe were with them on that terrible day and still with them as they try to come to terms with the horrific ordeal.
He promised to learn from the siege, with a review of all aspects of it due at the end of the month. "I pledge I will do everything I humanly can to keep Australia safe," he said.
He said, "Martin Place siege, I regret to say, was inspired by that death cult, now rampant in much of Syria and Iraq, which is a travesty of religion and governance and which should never be dignified with the term Islamic State."
"The Martin Place siege was the act of terror that we hoped would never occur in this country...I want to assure all Australians, that this Government, as well as our state counterparts, are determined to learn from what happened at the Lindt Café on that dreadful day," he added. "We stand for the right of individuals to choose their own paths and to live their lives free of fear. We stand against organisations or individuals that promote hatred here or recruit vulnerable Australians for terrorism abroad."
"We have already made it an offence to advocate terrorism and made it easier to ban terrorist organisations," he added. A lone gunman, Man Haron Monis, held hostage 10 customers and eight employees of the cafe located at Martin Place in Sydney. After a 16-hour standoff, the hostages were freed. Two of the hostages were killed in standoff.