Shorten attends vigil for Orlando victims


Bill Shorten says some Australian LGBTI people will feel "a little less safe after Orlando even though that is America and this is Australia".

Labor leader Bill Shorten has attended a candlelight vigil for the victims of the Orlando shooting, saying it strengthened his resolve to see same-sex marriage in Australia.

The opposition leader and wife Chloe stood side by side with thousands of mourners at Melbourne's Federation Square for the service.

Similar vigils have been held around Australia to show support for the 49 victims killed by a gunman inside the crowded Orlando club Pulse on Sunday.

As people around him wept silently, Mr Shorten embraced his wife and daughter as they listened to the speakers including Australia's first openly gay Imam, Nur Warsame.

In a moving moment, the audience joined together to sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

"I think a lot of Australians recognise that homophobia still exists in Australia and we need to do what we can together to confront and defeat that attitude," Mr Shorten said after the event.

"When something as evil as Orlando happens it is important the Melbourne and Australia's LGBTI communities realise that a lot of people stand with them.

"There will be people in our LGBTI community that feel a little less secure and a little less safe after Orlando even though that is America and this is Australia."

Mr Shorten, who was joined by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, Australian Sex Party Leader Fiona Pattern, Victoria Liberal MP David Davis and Equality Minister Martin Foley, said the LGBTI community "need to see their leaders standing with them.

"They need to know that homophobia has no place in Australians' life or Australian attitudes full stop," he said.

"I do not associate random acts of evil with whole faith. Every faith has a proportion of people that do bad things."

Source AAP

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch