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Tuesday, 22 October 2002
Page: 8347


Mrs MOYLAN (5:26 PM) —I rise to support the motion moved in the House of Representatives by the Prime Minister on 14 October, immediately after the terrorist attacks in Bali. No doubt our days of mourning will be many and we will swing from deep anger to unbearable sadness. That has certainly already been evident in the community. For a long time we will ask why this would happen to so many young, innocent Australians and people from many parts of the world. The attack was murderous and cowardly and the perpetrators are people who hide themselves from the world. Their attacks, wherever they take place, come without warning and are indiscriminate—killing and maiming innocent men, women and children. Such attacks are to be utterly condemned.

The personal heartache and pain this insane act has caused can have no justification whatsoever. In talking about the heartache and pain, one young man, Jason Stokes, the assistant coach of the Kingsley football team, is still not accounted for. His parents and friends are amongst those who face the agonising wait because Jason is not accounted for. My heart aches for his distraught parents and his friends. His parents live in my electorate of Pearce. I have to say, as a mother and a grandmother, that there would be nothing that would concern me more than to be left uncertain about the fate of one of my children, my grandchildren or indeed any member of my family.

We can speculate on why these people have perpetrated such atrocious acts on innocent people, but I think at the heart of it these attacks appear to be directed towards anyone who is not a believer of the extreme religious views of the perpetrators. No-one in any part of the world who does not embrace these extreme religious views will be safe from attacks in the future. The perpetrators are not people who are driven by poverty or oppression; they are extremists with a mission to try to create terror in civil societies.

Thoughts that Australian people can escape such attacks by remaining silent are seriously misplaced. We can never allow ourselves to be cowed by such acts of brutality. The courage of Australian people in the face of threats and bullying has always been legendary, and I have every confidence that we will stand firm and resolute in the face of this dreadful event. We will work tirelessly to see those responsible for this atrocity brought to justice in a system that undoubtedly will treat them more humanely than the perpetrators treated the innocent victims of their cowardly attacks.

By contrast we have seen, as we have heard today and in other speeches over the last few days, that there have been many courageous acts both during and after the bombings. Every day there are new reports of people having rescued their friends from burning buildings and putting their own lives at risk. We have heard stories of the assistance given by medical professionals, the Defence Force, department of foreign affairs staff, emergency services and Red Cross—the list of people assisting has been endless. They have worked in the most difficult circumstances to help the injured. Ordinary people on holiday have inspired us with their generosity and their willingness to volunteer their time to help.

Australian people are tolerant and peace loving. It is very heartening to see the nation come together to show such caring for one another, and with such generosity of spirit. To mourn together, to comfort those who have lost family members and friends, and to generously offer financial assistance where it is needed: these, to my way of thinking, are the hallmarks of a civil society. These are the things that Australian people stand up for and these are the qualities that make Australia a place that we all feel very privileged to live in.

I will conclude because I feel that to go on would be only to repeat the many wonderful speeches that we have heard and many of the points that have been raised. I extend my sympathy not only to the parents of Jason Stokes who live in the electorate of Pearce but also to everyone—the Balinese, all Australians and the many people from many parts of the world who have lost family members and/or friends. My thoughts and prayers also go out to those who have come back to Australia with serious injuries and are still in hospital. I wish them a speedy recovery, as I am sure we all do.