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Monday, 22 March 2004
Page: 26756

Mr HOWARD (Prime Minister) (2:00 PM) —I seek the indulgence of the House to raise the horrific terrorist attack in Spain which occurred after the House rose. This terrorist attack should of course be condemned unreservedly—as I know it will—by all members of this House and all Australians. It was carried out in Madrid on 11 March 2004. It claimed 201 lives and caused injuries to more than 1,200 people—many horrific injuries. On behalf of the government and the people of Australia, I conveyed condolences to the Spanish government. Again I take this opportunity, I know on behalf of all members of the House, of recording our condolences to the people of Spain for the losses that they have suffered, particularly to those who have lost loved ones as a result of the attack.

It is important to note that, in the past 12 months, terrorist attacks have taken place in Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Turkey, the Philippines and now Spain. Those terrorist attacks have taken the lives of many hundreds of people without regard to their race, nationality, religion or political beliefs. In the case of Australia, in recalling the brutal terrorist attack in Bali on 12 October 2001, which claimed 88 Australian lives and the lives of three permanent residents of this country, this House must recognise that Australia remains at risk of a terrorist attack on our own soil. In expressing our condolences to the people of Spain, we should take the opportunity of reaffirming our strong support for all appropriate measures to protect our nation against such an attack.

Spain is a warning that it could happen here in Australia. There should be no doubt or equivocation on anybody's part regarding that. We should also resolve to continue to participate fully with our friends and allies in efforts to combat and defeat terrorism both in our region and elsewhere. In expressing our sympathy with the people of Spain, let us also declare that under no circumstances will threats of terrorism alter the stance that this country, this government or these people take on any issue.