The cruelty displayed in Christchurch has now triggered a national and international conversation about what has happened to our country - once famed and loved for its tolerance.
That one of our own could cross the ditch to one of the most peaceful nations in the world - a nation that generously and willingly took refugees we were unwilling to take ourselves - and inflict such violence and heartbreak is just - heartbreaking.
It is also terrifying.
We must now all search our souls.
The public discourse on racism has changed over the past two decades.
We have had clear dog-whistling to the baser ideas of a minority of our population - for political gain.
During the height of boat people arriving from Vietnam there was a clear bi-partisan agreement to keep this human suffering away from the political football field.
The Coalition and Labor both agreed on this - even if they did not agree on anything else.
This clear bi-partisan stance allowed agreements to be struck with those nations housing in camps Vietnamese refugees.
This allowed the orderly processing and flow of people who would otherwise have been boat people to Australia by plane - as approved refugees.
If this issue had remained a political football, we might still be getting countless refugees by boat from Vietnam today.
Whenever the issue of refugees is politicised, the conversation can only go one way - down.
When that conversation turns in that direction, people begin to seek easy solutions to their own fears and begin to feel they somehow have permission to act them out.
Christchurch was the softest of targets.
Men, women and children, the elderly, the infirm, were at their most defenceless.
We must go on as a community united across colour, race, religion and anything else that we most unwisely decide should divide us.
We must come together.