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Wednesday, 23 October 2002
Page: 8550


Mrs BRONWYN BISHOP (11:13 AM) —Together with others, I offer my sympathy and condolences to the families and friends of those Australians who were so brutally murdered in Bali. The constituents in my electorate have been blessed in that we seem to have been spared, but they mourn, together with the families and friends of those who have been lost. They understand the brutality of what was done, particularly to those young Australians exercising the freedom that we regard so correctly as a right—the right to be free. Yet it is that very right to be free that is threatened by the hatred that is shown for that freedom.

So many young people will never meet their potential—young people, as I said, who were exercising their freedom to enjoy the hospitality of the people of Bali, with whom great friendships have been built over many years. As you look at the photographs of those who have been lost, you feel, with the parents, that parents are not meant to have to bury their children. They are meant to grow old with them, enjoy them and see them reach their heights.

The shock that comes with so many deaths is the motive behind their murder, murder that was motivated by hate, hate of everything that those people stood for—not only the Australians but also people from other nationalities who were there—and with no care for the Balinese themselves. We are at war with terrorism, and terrorism knows no geographical bounds. Historically Australia has felt quarantined in a sense in that we have not been invaded, although I had to walk the Kokoda Track to understand how close it came and how much we owed the diggers who fought on the Kokoda Track, particularly at the Battle of Isurava. We even kept the bombing of Darwin a big secret for so long. People haven't realised that it was the same planes that bombed Pearl Harbour that bombed Darwin—that they flew 750 sorties—because at the time it was a question of security. Yet, in all the years that have passed we have never really let the rest of Australia know that 1,000 people died. So in a sense we have had a charmed life.

There are those who think that, if we put our heads in the sand, if we pretend we are a small target, we will not be included, we will be spared. I repeat: terrorism knows no geographical borders. It is our way of life and the things which we hold dear that we believe in, of which the equality of women is very much a part. The freedom that those young women exercised in enjoying themselves in Bali was something that other people hate.

Australia has never been one to shirk her duty. Australia has always been a nation that takes part and shares in international strife, where good people need to be counted. The war on terrorism is no exception. Again, we play our part. The JI in Indonesia, clearly linked with al-Qaeda, and the other terrorist groups that are around the world no doubt have their links in Australia. We cannot say we are immune. By pretending that we do not have a role to play in the international sense will not somehow quarantine us from something which is immediately on our doorstep because—I repeat—terrorism knows no boundary.

In this difficult time I think it is important that we start to acknowledge what we are fighting. Francis Fukuyama wrote in his famous essay The End of History that liberal democracy had been successful in overcoming communism and fascism, the two ideologies which had come out of the 1920s. Huntingdon has written about the `clash of civilisations', but a more important voice I think is that of Daniel Pipes, who says that there needs to be an identification of militant Islamicism as an ideology which is just as much disdained by moderate Muslims as by people of the West.

We have to realise that the ideology of militant Islamism also emerged in the 1920s, along with communism and fascism. We just did not really notice until, in Pipes's words, `the Shah of Persia was not only opposed but deposed and a militant regime came into place'. He makes the point that we need to support moderate Islam and recognise militant Islamism as an ideology instead of categorising it as a religious problem. I think he is right. I think Fukuyama was wrong; I think Huntington is wrong. I think Pipes's voice is the voice of reason.

The immediate need for us as a nation is to again strengthen our resolve. We need to say that we will always stand up for the rights of the individual, that we regard every individual as an important person, that women are as important as men, that women's rights are as important as men's rights, and that the freedom to exercise those rights is fundamental to the Australian way of life. Our spirit as a nation will not be bent, and it certainly will not be broken. We have shown again and again in the short history of our nation that we are a resilient people who will always stand up for our values.

This is going to be a difficult time for us. As we mourn and reach out to the families and the friends who have lost the people they love, we must stand firm in our resolve that our freedoms are precious to us and will always be defended by us. We will always hold our heads high and say, `We are proud of the Australian way of life.' And we want more and more people to be able to enjoy the freedoms that we enjoy. The freedom to worship and the freedom to be free are important. Again I say: we have to identify terrorism for what it is and we have to identify the people who perpetrate terrorism. We must know that the war on terrorism is right and we must never back away from it or pretend that we can somehow be cocooned from it. We cannot. We will remain the people we have always been—ready to play our part.