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Thursday, 11 October 2012
Page: 8006

Bali Bombings

Senator STEPHENS (New South Wales) (14:07): My question is to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Bob Carr. Can the minister inform the Senate about the Australian government's memorial services for the 10th anniversary of the 2002 Bali bombings?

Senator BOB CARR (New South WalesMinister for Foreign Affairs) (14:07): It has been 10 years since the bomb struck Paddy's Bar and the Sari Club in Bali, tragically claiming 202 lives including 88 Australians—43 from my state, New South Wales. At least 100 others were injured, maimed by the horrific fires and destruction that followed. I recall vividly visiting several in the burns wards of two Sydney hospitals. Tomorrow, the Australian government will hold memorial services in Bali and Canberra to commemorate the bombings. Those who lost their lives or were injured were innocent people going about their daily lives, many of them young people enjoying a holiday at the beach. We will never forget them.

Prime Minister Gillard will represent the Australian government at the service in Bali. The Governor-General will lead the service at Parliament House in Canberra, which is open to the public. We should acknowledge the spirit of the Australian response in those terrible hours and days after the bombing, like the team of Australian doctors and nurses who happened to be in Bali on holiday and rushed to help the victims, a burns doctor from Perth and his wife, an army medic from Darwin, and many others. It is that spirit—the refusal be cowed by evil extremists and our sense of common humanity—that we pay tribute to tomorrow.

You might recall one family from my own electorate in Maroubra, a mother and father who lost their 17-year-old son who was on his first holiday apart from his parents—his first holiday overseas. Their tragedy was to receive his bloodied bag that contained in the suitcase the present he bought for his mum and dad. I recall going to a funeral on the Central Coast of New South Wales. The family's dad—who survived the bombing and worked as a fire fighter at the Maroubra police station, just around the corner from where we live—lost his dear wife and one of his two daughters. The members of a football club at Coogee bore a great loss as well.

Senator STEPHENS (New South Wales) (14:09): Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. I thank the minister for that response. Can the minister advise what the government is doing now to support survivors and families of victims to participate in the memorial services?

Senator BOB CARR (New South WalesMinister for Foreign Affairs) (14:10): On 19 August the Prime Minister announced a package of assistance to survivors and the families of victims to attend services in Bali and Canberra. Direct financial assistance has been offered by the Australian government to cover the cost of air fares, ground transfers, accommodation and living expenses. The package is commensurate with assistance provided for the first anniversary in 2003. Close to 800 Australians will attend the memorial service in Bali: family and friends of the victims, the volunteers who assisted them and those who were there at Kuta Beach on that fateful night. During the service, 22 candles will be lit at a remembrance pool to represent the number of countries that lost people in that tragedy. The acquired feedback from people availing themselves of this assistance is that they appreciate it and they see it as a gesture by the Australian people to sustain them in the sorrow that will come to the fore on this sad anniversary. (Time expired)

Senator STEPHENS (New South Wales) (14:11): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. Can the minister also advise the Senate of the Australian government's efforts to work with the government of Indonesia to reduce the threat of terrorism?

Senator BOB CARR (New South WalesMinister for Foreign Affairs) (14:11): Deserving of high praise is the response of Indonesia to terrorism. Since the Bali bombing the Indonesian authorities have laid over 700 charges against people accused of terrorism and delivered convictions in over 400 cases. That is 400 people in jail who were capable of taking more Australian lives and, of course, more Indonesian lives with bombings like this—one whose anniversary we are commemorating. Since the Bali bombings there has been a very high level of cooperation between the Australian and Indonesian police. We have helped strengthen Indonesia's capabilities in investigative techniques, forensic analysis, bomb disposal and intelligence collection. Together we have established the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation for counter terrorism training, which is highly appreciated in Indonesia. Australia and Indonesia co-sponsor— (Time expired)