Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 11 September 2003
Page: 19963


Mr RIPOLL (12:51 PM) —Today, 11 September 2003, is a special day which means something different to many people all around the world. For me, it signifies three very important events. It is the birthday of my younger brother, born in 1967, so it is a happy day. Two other events also mark this day. One is the CIA-backed coup of 1973—some 30 years ago—that ousted the democratically elected government of President Salvador Allende and replaced him with the dictator General Pinochet, who would torture and kills tens of thousands of his countrymen. The other significant event occurred two years ago today—the terror attacks on New York and Washington, when nearly 3,000 innocent people from all parts of the world were killed by fanatics.

The world changed forever on September 11 for a few people, then for thousands of people and, more recently, for everyone else in the world. I hoped that after September 11 in 2001 the world would unite to fight terror together, that nations would find a new world order and that hope for peace would herald the 21st century. Unfortunately, this has not been the case. That now seems so distant and out of reach. The world has not learnt—and nor will the terrorists.

For whatever wrongs the US has committed in foreign affairs policy, it has truly paid a very high price—and, with it, so have all other nations. But no country can claim purity and innocence, for all have at some stage in their history, recently or otherwise, committed errors of their own. The cries from some critics that the US deserved what it got are completely erroneous. Mistakes are not erased by terror, nor are they revenged in a confused attack that kills people of all faiths and nations without discrimination.

We cannot allow the terrorists to win. We have been given no option. They cannot win, because they seek to destroy our way of life and take away our very existence. Nothing can appease these terrorists and no diplomacy can prevent their actions. But we do have choices about the future of the world we want to live in, about our alliances and friendships and about how we deal with other nations around the world. These choices are not just for the US. Australia has choices about its relationships with its neighbours in the Pacific and in Asia. We need to send the right signals—that we are with them, that we are part of this region and that we are on their side.

Critics say that history is replete with the blood of war. Nowhere is this more real than in the Arab and European worlds over thousands of years. Singling out the US for special treatment is hypocritical in a world where dictators and despots reign supreme. For example, the excesses of some African regimes promote death and starvation of their own people. Some Latin American regimes are cruel, and there is endless battle in the Middle East.

Today will also signify the week in which the road map to peace between Palestine and Israel came to an end. It is hard to imagine any progress towards peace in a world where suicide bombers seek out innocent people and destroy families. Retaliations for the killings, targeting the leaders of Hamas, will come from Israel; that has been promised by Prime Minister Sharon. So the downward spiral into death and destruction will continue in the Middle East, with little hope in sight.

Today is not a good day or a bad day; it is just a day like any other. The rich of the world will make more money, while the poor of the world will go a little hungrier. Developing nations will continue to struggle against debt and for access to markets, while the developed nations will continue to pay more in subsidies for a single cow than most people pay for food.

Today Australians will remember those we lost two years ago, who did not deserve to die. We should remember them for the contributions they made and the lives they touched. In the few seconds I have left I want to pay special tribute to Andrew Knox, a personal friend of mine who died on September 11. He was a young man who made a huge contribution. The South Australian government have set up a fund in honour of Andrew and others who died on that day to remember the contribution they made. It is a great pity that through the selfishness of so many people innocent lives have been lost.