The scene on the Logan Motorway; Jim Chalmers, top; and Raghe Abdi below.
The scene on the Logan Motorway; Jim Chalmers, top; and Raghe Abdi below.

Former JPC student praised in Parliament for unity council

A former John Paul College student, shot dead on the Logan Motorway yesterday, was praised in Parliamentary speeches after he played a role in setting up the prestigious school's unity council in 2014.

Mr Abdi, 22, died yesterday after he was shot by police following a confrontation on the side of the Logan Motorway during peak hour.

Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers, who was a back bencher in 2014, named Raghe Abdi in his 2014 speech as one of two "fine men" "concerned about the impact of events overseas".

In his speech, Mr Chalmers said the pair had helped to set up the unity council bringing together students from 13 different countries.

A video was later attached to Mr Chalmers' speech.

"The unity council sprang from the initiative taken by two fine young men - Faruk Bilgin and Raghe Abdi - who were concerned about the impact of events overseas on the way we treat each other here at home," he told Parliament on October 26, 2014.

"It is a tribute to them and to the student body at JPC that they were soon joined by Gareth Clark, Rohan Daniel, Stephanie Hoang, Chloe Mo, Himanthi Mendis, Harris Nikwan, Jack Smith, Luke Van Wijk, Shannon Widrose, and Nereadine Wolmby.

"And it is a tribute to the school's leadership that they were immediately supported by their dedicated principal, Peter Foster, who is here; as is Julia Martinez Garcia, a teacher; Jessica Fern, a kindy parent, who also formed a unity club with other mums and dads; Helen Weissenberger the chair of the board; Allan Dennis, the head of the senior school; and other parents.

"They are all in on the secret, that achieving unity and understanding between people of different faiths, cultures and backgrounds is critical to unlocking the full value of Australia's multiculturalism."

Mr Chalmers said the group of students, teachers and parents who formed the unity council asked him to share their message of unity.

The group travelled to Canberra before hosting a roundtable meeting with members from both sides of the House.

He urged people to back the unity council.

Former students who went to school with Mr Abdi spoke about a forthright student who was keen to make a difference.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, they said he was well known in the school community and had shown leadership qualities but was also a loner.

John Paul College principal Karen Spiller has made college chaplains available to students and the wider school community.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Raghe Abdi's family and friends at this time."




Originally published as Former JPC student praised in Parliament for unity council