FEDERAL MP for Leichhardt Warren Entsch has described the Cairns community as “absolutely gutted” over today’s incident which saw the deaths of eight children in a Manoora home.
“It’s almost incomprehensible that so many young lives have been stolen,” Mr Entsch said today. “People are shaking their heads and saying, how could you believe something like this could happen in Cairns.
“The Torres Strait Islander community is going to be absolutely devastated by the loss of so many beautiful young lives, it’s hard to comprehend. It’s a tragedy at any time but a week before Christmas even more so.”
Mr Entsch said that at this point it was not appropriate to speculate as to the motives. “It is fair to say that whatever the circumstances it is very much a domestic tragedy and we need to view it as that.
“Any suggestion that it is anything more sinister would be totally out of order. I’ve heard some questions in relation to possible motives but I think this is just a dreadful domestic tragedy.
“My thoughts are also with our police officers and emergency services workers who have a very difficult job at the best of times, let alone when they are responding to an event like this where there are children involved.”
Mr Entsch said there were a number of agencies available to offer support for people who have been impacted by today’s events. The Federal Government’s Department of Human Services will this afternoon hold a ‘Far North Queensland Human Services Social Recovery Meeting’ which will determine how the State and Federal Government departments will mobilise as a result of this event.
“It’s also predominantly times like these when families come together,” Mr Entsch said. “There will be a lot of family members who live in the area who will come to be with the grieving family.
“Traditionally what will happen in the Torres Strait Islander community, and it is a wonderful tradition, at a time of a tragedy family members will gather and they will sit with this family for days and days.
“They will offer support of food, comfort and prayer and that support will continue up to and after the funeral event. Those family members that are grieving will not be alone.”
Mr Entsch said that the Cairns community was very good at getting behind families that are suffering through a whole range of circumstances.
“Cairns really punches above its weight in this area, I’m confident that the community will embrace the family members, walk with them, sit with them and we will support them through this awful tragedy,” he said.
“At the end of the day, as the story unfolds and we get more information, we will all learn by this tragedy and hopefully put in place mechanisms that can, in some way, assist to minimise the risk of such an event occurring in the future.”
If you or someone you know needs support, please contact one of the following agencies:
Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
Cairns regional Domestic Violence Service 4033 6100
Centacare Cairns 4044 0130
Ciarns and Hinterland Mental Helath 07 4226 3100
Relationships Australia 1300 364 277
Emergency Services 000