My electorate of Mackellar is home to Australia’s only Baha'i House of Worship - one of just 13 Baha’i temples around the world. It is a majestic symbol of unity, and an icon of our electorate that we are incredibly proud of. Yesterday, on the 18th of June 2023, I was honored to take part in a commemoration to mark 40 years since the Islamic Republic of Iran executed 10 Baha'i women in a single night - in a square - in the city of Shiraz. Their crime was refusing to renounce their belief in the Baha’i faith – a faith that promotes the principles of gender equality, unity, justice, and truth.
The women were hanged one by one, each forced to watch the next woman’s death in a harrowing attempt to coerce them into recanting their faith. Most were in their 20s, one was only 17. Human rights groups and ordinary citizens around the world were horrified and outraged at this barbaric act.
Following the execution of the 10 women - and the ensuing four decades - hundreds more Baha’i women have been severely persecuted, facing discrimination both as women and as Baha’is. The persecution continues to this day under the current Iranian regime.
Today I rise to not only honour and recognise the courage of the 10 Baha’i women of Shiraz - but also to honour and recognise women across Iran and indeed the world who continue to stand up for the principles of equality, justice, and their freedom to practice their faith and beliefs.
We hear you. We see you. We will continue to fight for you.
Our hearts are with you.