Peter Khalil: Today is a very special day for the parliament. I’ve had the great privilege and honour of welcoming His Holiness Pope Tawadros II. He’s the Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt, which has 15 to 20 million adherents the world. He’s the spiritual leader of a community of faith that is one of the oldest sects of Christianity in the world. It has gone through difficult periods of stress and persecution over many, many centuries, but it has endured in that time. It is a great honour and joy for us to welcome him to the Australian parliament.
He met with the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, the foreign minister, the shadow foreign minister, the minister for immigration and the shadow immigration minister. They had very productive meetings that were about engagement with the Coptic Australian community, as well as how Australia can assist the Coptic Church and Egypt to maintain national unity against the scourge that we all face—terrorism and extremism.
It’s a great honour and joy to welcome His Holiness Pope Tawadros II. As the first Copt to be elected to the federal parliament, it is particularly special for me to have had the privilege to host him today. I welcome him and their graces the bishops and his excellency the ambassador. On such a momentous and historic visit, thank you for gracing us with your presence, and welcome to Australia and the Parliament of Australia.
Honourable members: Hear, hear!