You may remember your school visit to Parliament House in Canberra.

The red crushed gravel as you walked up to the entrance. The eucalypt green expanse of the marble foyer. Perhaps a speech from your local member.

But for some children unlucky enough to visit our Parliament yesterday the friendly faces of the building attendants were replaced by men cloaked head to toe in black.

Imagine what these young Australians were thinking as trusted teachers or parents ushered them towards safety as angry men shouted things they could not understand from the roof above them.

Imagine the fear these children would have felt, fear tearing away the excitement that built up from the moment they hopped off their bus.

But this was not a scene from a movie for these children, it was real, and it must have been scary and confusing.

That experience will live with them forever. Our Parliament should be a beacon of wonder and hope, not fear and distress.

In scenes that are an international embarrassment, a group of extremists tried to disrupt the Parliament. They clad our Parliament with banners of hate and ignorance. They sought to stoke division and hate. They ran roughshod over our system of representative democracy.

It was anti-democratic, it was wrong and we need to call it out. But we have to do more than just issue statements, we have to take action.

Because the image of those school kids filing into the Parliament while these low-life’s spouted bile is one that should force us to do more than simply condemn.

We must take stronger action, because what we saw on the roof of our Parliament is an escalation of unacceptable behaviour.

It comes in the same week that our war memorials were attacked by activists. The third attack on ANZAC Parade and the Australian War Memorial over recent months.

It comes in the same week that too many in our Parliament refused to condemn that desecration. And it comes in the same week that our Prime Minister once again refused to show strength in the face of hate and division.

The targeting of our national institutions should concern us all. It is a deliberate strategy to tear apart the things that bind us together. We need stronger leadership from our Prime Minister, and we are not seeing it.

That should start with stronger action to go after these extremists who have assaulted our national symbols.

They say when you change the government, you change the country.

Well, just two short years ago that change happened. And as we end a week defined by desecration, Australia feels like a different country. A very different country indeed.