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Tuesday, 7 October 2003
Page: 20712


Mr BAIRD (9:05 PM) —The events of 12 October 2002 changed Australia forever. Our view that Australia was protected from world terrorism, that it was something that happened in the Middle East and that we were safe in our remote destination was shattered on the night of 12 October. Terrorism was brought home to us with 202 people killed in Bali, on Australia's doorstep, 88 of whom were Australians. They were killed in an appalling act of cowardly terrorism when a bomb exploded outside the Sari nightclub, shattering the lives of those attending that night. A very sad feature of the deaths of so many young Australians in Bali was that the blast took our best and our finest: fun-loving and sun-seeking vibrant young Australians, so full of life and looking forward to a promising future yet cut down by this senseless act of terrorism.

In the electorate of Cook we lost seven beautiful young women—Renae Anderson, Simone Jane Hanley, Michelle Dunlop, Charmaine Whitton, Jodie Wallace, Francoise Dahan and Jodie O'Shea. I attended the funerals of several of these young ladies. It was heart breaking; it was gut wrenching and immensely sad. We were left asking the question: why? Why such senseless killing of such wonderful young people? It was made even more devastating by the fact that two of the victims—Renae Anderson and Simone Jane Hanley—were sisters. Renae was killed instantly, while Simone survived initially and was transferred to the burns unit at Royal Perth Hospital. Simone fought valiantly for over 50 days but finally succumbed.

The reality of the Bali horror came home to me on the day after the bombing. At the airport I met the sister of Jodie Wallace, who was introduced to me by a Qantas staff member who lives in my electorate. Jodie's sister advised that the family were desperately trying to find Jodie and asked for my help. With the assistance of the Australian consulate in Bali and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, a thorough search was made of hospitals and morgues. Attention switched to hospitals in Australia and we all remained tense until there was the final realisation that Jodie was never coming home. I will never forget Damon Snape, the partner of Francoise Dahan, when he spoke of his love of Francoise. There was not a dry eye in the church by the time he had finished his eulogy.

A week ago on Sunday the community in the Sutherland shire came together to unveil the memorial for the seven victims of the Bali bombing in our area. It was a very moving ceremony held at the beachside in Cronulla, which was enjoyed so much by the seven girls. It was attended by all the families and was particularly moving. Particularly poignant was the moment when seven white doves were released by members of the families. The last was released by Noah, who is the four-year-old son of Renae Anderson and who was at the service with his father, Jason Anderson.

It was a time for us to remember the seven wonderful Australians who lived in the Sutherland shire—wonderful young girls whose lives were so mercilessly cut short by these brutal acts of terrorism. It was a time to stand with the families and loved ones of the victims and let them know how much we care and how much we grieve with them. Sutherland shire will never forget this tragedy and the memorial will be a perpetual reminder to us of these seven lives which meant so much to so many people in our area.

Six weeks after the Bali bombing I went to the Christian memorial service, which was attended by some 8,000 Balinese and Indonesians. The service was particularly significant and at the end of the service I had the opportunity to meet the parents and partners of the victims of Bali. Of course, a number of those were involved themselves in the blast. During my visit, it was clear that there were other victims of the bombing. Shops, hotels and restaurants were empty and 160,000 Balinese were left unemployed. The theme of the memorial service was `love conquers fear'. At this time, when we remember this very difficult time in our history and the lives lost as a result, it is also important that we reach out to our nearest neighbour, Indonesia, and show that we care and are concerned not only for ourselves but for their welfare and pray that healing will take place in their land.