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Transcript of doorstop interview: Parliament House, Canberra: 16 June 2006: Abu Bakar Bashir’s release.
KEVIN RUDD M.P. Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade and International Security
TRANSCRIPT OF DOORSTOP INTERVIEW - PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
16 JUNE 2006
E & OE - PROOF ONLY
Subjects: Abu Bakar Bashir’s release
RUDD: Abu Bakar Bashir is a Muslim fanatic and mass murderer pretending to be a man of God. Abu Bakar Bashir’s statement that the mass murder of nearly 100 innocent Australians is the will of God is just plain obscene. What the Australian people want from the Prime Minister is action not words with Indonesia on this critical matter.
The Prime Minister has written to the Indonesian President and asked for certain things to be done. The Prime Minister’s requests are inadequate. What the Prime Minister does not ask the Indonesian President to do is the following: he should be asking the Indonesian President to take action to close down Abu Bakar Bashir’s schools if anti-Australian and anti-Western hatred is preached in those schools, and we’re already starting to see evidence of that already. 2,000 people apparently attend these schools and they could become the factories for the mass production of terrorism in the future. Action must be taken if we’re serious about the war on terrorism.
The other thing is this. When it comes to this organisation Jemaah Islamiah we’ve got to take hard-line action concerning its future. Four years ago Mr Downer indicated that the Indonesians had agreed to ban the organisation Jemaah Islamiah. That was when Jemaah Islamiah was first outlawed by the United Nations. Four years later - no action has been taken. Within Indonesia Jemaah Islamiah has not been banned as a terrorist organisation. And this is the
organisation already responsible for the mass murder of so many Australians, other foreigners and Indonesian citizens. So my call on the Prime Minister is blunt - he must require and request the Indonesian President ban Jemaah
Islamiah as an organisation. You can’t pussy-foot around with this - it has to happen.
Abu Bakar Bashir’s release represents a major defeat for Australia’s war against terrorism here in our own region, our own neighbourhood, our own backyard. The organisation of which he’s the spiritual head, that’s Jemaah Islamiah, as we speak is plotting and planning to do further damage, injury and death to innocent Australians abroad. The bottom line is, we’ve got to take action and the Prime Minister when he goes to Jakarta he has to get serious with Indonesia and demand that this organisation be banned and that Abu Bakar Bashir’s school be closed.
RUDD: Indonesia expects Australia to be sensitive to Indonesian concerns when it comes to questions over Papua. I think it’s important for Indonesia to be sensitive to Australia’s concerns over matters concerning Abu Bakar Bashir and Jamaah Islamiah. I mean you have diplomatic relations for the purpose of using them, and right now we have this individual, a mass murder out there roaming free and able to continue to bring on a whole new generation of terrorists. Action must occur and our Prime Minister must tell the Indonesians that the
Australian people feel deeply and sensitively about this matter.
REPORTER: Do you think that Australians see this as biting the hand that feeds them?
RUDD: I’m not sure about that, I think at the end of the day in Indonesia you a have a country that has so many development challenges that each of those has to be met. The Australian people reached deeply into their pockets to help the people of Indonesia at the time of the Tsunami, we’ve sent further aid missions recently to Yogyakarta to assist with the terrible damage done to that magnificent city by the earthquake. At the end of the day Indonesia faces all these complex economic and social development challenges and Australia, I think, will continue to assist but we’ve got to ensure that Australia’s interests are also dealt with when something as bottom line as our national security is at stake. That’s why Mr Howard must level with Indonesian President Yudhoyono and get action on these two outstanding matters. One - banning Jamaah Islamiah in Indonesia and outlawing it as a terrorist organisation and two - closing these radical, Islamist militant schools which become the terrorist training ground for the future.
REPORTER: You don’t think it’s good enough for Indonesia to say, stick the hell out of our business?
RUDD: When it comes to our handling of this relationship with Jakarta, every side has got its interests at stake. We understand Indonesian sensitivities over questions like Papua. Indonesia has got to understand our sensitivities over questions like this mass murderer, Muslim fanatic Abu Bakar Bashir. Australians don’t want more words on this they want action.
Contact: Alister Jordan 0417 605 823