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Tuesday, 30 October 2012
Page: 12675

Mr WYATT (Hasluck) (17:02): I rise to talk on the Bali bombings. They are a point in Australia's history at which a traumatic event impacted on families, on individuals and on the psyche of Australia, because we had never experienced such a traumatic event in the way that it transpired on Friday, 12 October 2002 at 11.05. It will always be remembered, like the assassination of John F Kennedy or September 11. We will always remember where we were, what we were doing, how the visual images in the breaking of that news story impacted on us, and our reactions of disbelief at seeing the carnage that was a result of the event.

At the time my wife and I were in Caporio in Italy. We had just sat down to lunch with Antonio and Concerta, two of her cousins, and their family. We were having a discussion, and while we were talking Italian news broke the story. It led with 'Australians killed in Bali', and we stopped the conversation and tuned into the television. What we saw was footage that we could not believe happening in Bali, and the Italians that we were with said, 'Why would anybody want to do this to Australians?' Then it came out that there were Italians affected as well. We had a discussion at that point about the senseless slaughter of people. The loss of life because of extremists was something that was hard to comprehend, particularly when you know that all of those there were holidaying and it was something that they were looking forward to.

The disbelief, though, I think was a significant factor for us around that table. Later on that night we sat and watched the news again and rang home to see if any family members had been affected—or friends or people that we knew.

We came back fairly soon after that event. We came through Singapore and gleaned news items that we happened to see. The media coverage was very explicit on the impact that it had on those who had gone there for a good time. I always remember reading those articles, looking at explicit nature of the events as they occurred—the footage and photographs. I could not comprehend the damage to another human being in the way that I saw. I understand there are conflicts where there are battles and wars that are fought and the weaponry that is used, but not in terms of innocent people. To see that brought back the reality that the world was changing.

I watched coverage by Nick Ray, who was working for one of the commercial stations—I am not sure which channel—and his comments after filing some stories,. Him then saying, 'I find this extremely challenging,' looking at limbs separated from bodies, bodies that were not recognisable. There is one thing that I always think about in terms of the Bali bombing—it does not matter when the context is; I think it was brought home very sharply with the memorial service held here in the parliament, when Professor Fiona Wood made her profound comments about the humanity of goodness in a time of crisis and in a time of need. It was her comments about the resilience of individuals. She spoke of a particular person who she said had serious burns. But the thing that struck her was the hope and aspirations of that individual. She said that the person eventually recovered and she challenged them in a sporting event. She got beaten but what she liked was the fact of the resilience and the recovery.

Fiona, who I know personally and have worked with and enjoyed her professional approach to much in the health area, was quite affected by those who she saw with the degrees of burns that people experienced. She was affected by the stories that were shared with her about those who were affected and hospitalised—both in Perth and Darwin—about the way in which heroism was extremely noticeable. It was evident in the way in which, at a time of confusion and in a time of your world being turned upside down, individuals looked around to see who needed help and those that they were able to help, they took them to the nearest medical facility or they stayed with them until help arrived.

The thing that was even more amazing was the way in which health professionals—medical specialists, those who specialise in burns, those surgeons that were needed, the allied health professions that became involved, the nurses who gave their time—Australians and Indonesians, worked together to ensure that those who had been injured were given every level support and assistance.

Then came the second phase after evacuation and after treatment—that is, the trauma that individuals experience. Here it was the psychologists, psychiatrists and the counsellors that were needed to help people through something that, in a sense, you would not comprehend, because it was something that you would not then be prepared for nor had you ever anticipated occurring to you.

Then I looked with great pride at fellow Australians who gave their time to work closely with the Indonesians in Bali—the Australian Federal Police in the identification of people, and those who assisted to ensure that family members who were killed were brought back to Australia.

One point that always stuck out in that list of people that were killed—the 202 of which 88 were Australians and 38 were Indonesians—was this. At the bottom of the list there were two who were never identified and were cremated in Bali. I always thought, 'I wonder whose family was affected. Did they ever know that those two, who were family members, would never return back to where they had come from?'

I admire the resilience of those affected, because all of them have got on with their lives. When we saw a photographic display of those who had lost lives and when we saw family members put flowers on the wreath of flowers in the Great Hall, we could see their emotion but we also saw their resilience and acceptance, that they were still acknowledging somebody that they had lost.

The attack involved the detonation of three bombs, but I note in particular the two which inflicted the terrible loss of life: a backpack mounted device carried by a suicide bomber and a large car bomb, which were both detonated within 20 seconds of each other. They would have created, in anybody's mind, a considerable level of confusion because any explosion near you disorients you. If you are directly affected then you have this double impact, so the surrealness versus the reality of what you experience becomes a challenge but your survival hopes kick in.

I note the way in which we responded, in partnership with the Indonesians, was incredible when you give consideration to the logistics of responding to such an event. When I saw the photographs and the images, both electronically and in media stories, I noted the damage was immense, with the scorching of the earth, with the glass that would have flown, with the impact on buildings several blocks away a reality jolt of the brutality that was inflicted by people who set out to kill innocent holidaymakers, people who had no regard for the fact that they were not involved in their war of terror. What they should have done was look at other opportunities of expressing their dissatisfaction than to take the lives of family members.

When you looked at the hospital facilities that were available then in Bali, you saw they were not adequate. I am reminded in memory of the number of people who had severe burns and were taken to buildings around there that had swimming pools in which people could immerse those people with serious burns to alleviate their pain. Then I am reminded of the memories of reading newspaper articles about people who then went looking for family members and who knew that they were missing but did not know where they were and about the experience that they went through.

But the plus out of all of this is that Australia committed resources to provide in Bali a hospital that would enable future people that required treatment to have access to good services. Additionally, Professor Fiona Wood and those within Darwin worked together to create two units that in the future would serve Australians well and also others who would need any specialised treatment. I think the thing that was important for all of us was the fact that we had given a special place to all of those who were affected through the memorials that had been established, here in Canberra and other parts of Australia and certainly in Bali.

As a mark of respect, a permanent memorial was built on the site of the destroyed Paddy's Pub on Legian Street. The memorial is made of intricately carved stone, set with a large marble plaque which bears the names and nationalities of each of those killed. It is flanked by the national flags of the victims. The monument is well maintained and illuminated at night.

I could spend time talking about the perpetrators, but I do not intend to do that. I want to remember those families who suffered the loss of a son, a daughter, a mother, a brother. In Perth, the memorial at Kings Park lists the WA victims of the bombing. It was opened on the first anniversary and is situated on the ridge of Mount Eliza in Kings Park, overlooking the city. The memorial is specifically designed to frame the sun's rays at dawn on 12 October each year, and it faces in the exact direction of Bali. The family names on there reflect the diversity, in a sense, of those families affected. The Kingsley Football Club, which had a number of members killed in the Bali bombings, had in it kids from an area that I taught in. My sons were friends of some of those footballers. When I rang home from Italy I was talking to my youngest son and I asked him whether he knew anybody and he said yes, and he said some of the people from the Kingsley Football Club were schoolmates. I want to acknowledge what the member for Cowan, Luke Simpkins, said yesterday when he spoke of the Kingsley Football Club and the way in which they have dedicated both their memories and an area to the young men. He spoke of the club and the young men who died—Dean Gallagher, Byron Hancock, Corey Paltridge, David Ross, Anthony Stewart, Jason Stokes and Jonathon Wade. Inside the clubroom, under the sign for the boys, there is a memorial room for the seven footballers who went to Bali on 12 October 2002 with 13 of their best mates, and they died that night. In the Kuta Beach nightclub district they were celebrating reaching their first grand final when a backpack bomb that went off in Paddy's Bar and a massive car bomb outside the Sari Club destroyed seven of them.

The bonds between Indonesia and Australia, and our joint approach on terrorism and our combined efforts with other nations to tackle terrorist groups who inflict injury on innocent people and families, has been heightened and strengthened over that period of time. Our commitment and resolve to never allow any terrorist group or group of extremists to affect our way of life, our beliefs and our compassion about what we stand for and what we are as a nation will never change. But I hope we never again see something of the magnitude of what occurred in Bali.

I acknowledge all of the families affected, and certainly acknowledge every Australian who contributed to the efforts at that time and our service men and women and the police forces who in the future will continue to ensure that we are protected and accorded the safety that is important to us as a nation of people.