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Monday, 29 October 2012
Page: 12413


Mr HARTSUYKER (Cowper) (18:05): On 12 October 2012, the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Paddy's bar and the Sari Club, I attended the Kingsley Football Club in the late afternoon. It was 10 years to the day after the club lost seven of its players in that act of terrorism. To this day, the tragedy affects the club. I say 'affects', but it does not define the club and it does not hang over the club. Kingsley is not held back by the deaths of Dean Gallagher, Jason Stokes, Byron Hancock, Corey Paltridge, David Ross, Jonathon Wade and Anthony Stewart. This is a club where the quality of resilience is evident for all to see. It is a club where something good has come of out of the tragedy and the loss. The 11 Kingsley Football Club members who survived the bomb blasts decided on their return to Australia immediately afterwards that they would plan to build new clubrooms at Kingsley as a memorial to those that had been lost. Upon their return, they unveiled that plan and united the community. Support flowed from the club, from Kingsley and from widely across Perth. In the days that followed, 10,000 people attended the candlelight vigil and the plan began to be implemented. Literally hundreds of individuals and organisations became part of that plan and created the Kingsley memorial clubrooms, which include change rooms, a bar, other rooms and an area where the lives of the seven boys that died can be commemorated.

As I said before, it is from this tragedy that the Kingsley Football Club has gathered its strength and in many ways has been reborn bigger and better. Those boys will never be forgotten, but the club is about more than that tragedy. It will not hold them back but rather give them strength. I thank the president, Mr Keith Pearce, for the invitation to attend that gathering on 12 October. I appreciate the opportunity to be there with my state colleague Andrea Mitchell MLA, the member for Kingsley, and the former MLA for Kingsley, the Hon. Cheryl Edwards, and her husband, Colin, who were so strong for the community when it was needed.

I would also like to thank the Hon. Tony Abbott for the opportunity on 14 September to represent him at the Peter Hughes Burn Foundation fundraising dinner at Frasers Restaurant in Kings Park in Perth. Peter Hughes was severely burned in one of the bomb blasts on 12 October 2002. A very famous scene at the time on the television was from Bali when Peter Hughes was being interviewed. From his facial features, it was clear that he was injured and that he had been burnt. His features were very swollen, but because of his very lucid speech and the way in which he carried himself it did not appear that he was critically injured. Selflessly, on the TV he spoke about how he encouraged others and the staff of the hospital there to treat others before him. But, in a strange and most fortunate outcome of that interview, a doctor that had seen that interview in Australia identified that Peter was actually at extreme risk and that the injuries he had—the burns he had—had resulted in the swollenness in his face and his body, and that he was actually going to be at great risk unless he was treated quickly. So he was brought back to Australia quickly. I believe that he was treated in Adelaide Hospital, but he almost died as a result of not being treated quickly enough. But from that Peter Hughes created his burn foundation to help those severely burnt. Because of Tony Abbott's long-time support he also received an invitation to that dinner, at which I represented him.

From attending that dinner I found that the Bali bombings have greatly affected all those that were there—the actual victims of the blasts and their family members, but also those that were part of providing medical and other support and, in fact, those that reported the tragedy and the aftermath of the tragedy. As I heard the speeches at that dinner and saw the interactions between those that were there and those involved afterwards, I felt the strength of the brotherhood in the room. It was like an intense esprit de corps where the events and the life-and-death challenges of the time created bonds that could never be broken. It was an amazing experience to be seated next to the former AFL player Jason McCartney and his wife and reporters Peter Overton and Mark Readings, who both reported on the attacks and the aftermath. It is difficult to fully appreciate what those who were there went through and what challenges they continue to face, yet what I saw there at that dinner was a group of people who were not cowed by injury, experiences or the death around them but rather have become stronger and more determined people.

I was recently transiting through Bali on parliamentary business, and for six hours I was in Bali. I had the opportunity to visit the Bali memorial, which is situated on a small corner of a traffic island, almost, between the lot that is the Sari Club site and where Paddy's bar has now been rebuilt into shops. It was a sobering experience to look at the vicinity of the greatest terrorist attack against Australians. It was hard to picture the chaos and the carnage that took place that night 10 years ago. But when I stood in front of the commemorative tablet on that small corner block and I saw the names of the 202 dead, and particularly the 88 Australians, I imagined what effect the bombs had on our country and, more particularly, what effect they had on the families that lost loved ones and on those injured through the blasts and burns. It is important that those of us who were not directly affected consider that those who were will live with this for the rest of their lives.

Later today the opposition leader will lead debate on his private member's motion on the victims of terrorism. Retrospective recognition and support for Australian victims should be embraced by this parliament. But on this occasion, the 10th anniversary of the Bali bombings, I once again offer my condolences to the families of the victims in Cowan and across the whole country, and my best wishes to those injured. I hope that they are as strong and as uncowed by those events as so many of those I have met who were there.