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Monday, 14 October 2002
Page: 5089


Senator BROWN (2:47 PM) —I join in supporting the motion moved by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Hill. On behalf of Senator Nettle and the Australian Greens, I express our utter horror at this monstrous and cowardly act of terrorism which has killed or injured 400 innocent people in Bali. Behind the bomb blast is a hate and destructiveness which can be given no quarter in human society and which has no part in our global community of the 21st century. Our hearts and our deepest sympathy and empathy go out to those who are injured and who are suffering unthinkable agony as a result of the blasts. So many so young with so much life in front of them have been cut down by this murderous act.

Our hearts also go out to the thousands of Australians, Indonesians, New Zealanders, Europeans, Americans and Filipinos and to people from so many other countries who are today waiting in dread for news of their loved ones in Bali. In a world where border fences are lower than ever before, this hideous act of inhumane violence in Bali finds Australia and Indonesia bound not just as victims but also in the urgent task of aiding all those victims and tracking down the criminals who are responsible. The Greens support 100 per cent the Howard government's emergency response to the disaster and are united with all others in this national parliament in our grief and our wish to help the victims in every way possible as soon as possible. It will take a very long time for the wound that Australians have suffered in Bali to begin to heal.

We as a nation want to help in that process to our utmost, and we will. In the process, it is important that the pluralism of viewpoints which we value so highly in our nation will be encouraged and not discouraged, as we also look to a long-term view of finding peace and security in our region and in the world. While terrorism must be tackled as a priority, for we are ineluctably in a new period of terrorism, this must not be at the expense of our democratic society; our freedoms, which have endured two world wars, or our growing place as an independent nation with the ability to help lead the world to a fairer, more secure future—and that means all of the world. Not least in our global outreach, let Australia concentrate on civil rather than on military engagement necessary to find that peace and security. The last six words of this motion which say that we reaffirm Australia's commitment to the war against terrorism in the rest of the world do not include the potential for Australian involvement in an attack on Baghdad, with all the consequent loss of innocent lives that would entail. It is much better that the billions of dollars that would cost go instead to aid and building strong bridges with our neighbours, in particular with Indonesia.

Rather, the Greens want to see Australia helping to close the gap between rich and poor in this world, between the haves and the have-nots and between the powerful and the powerless people of the world. We are all equal human beings on this planet. If there is any good to come from this awful moment, let it be our long-range commitment to encourage and bolster those in Indonesia, the vast majority of our neighbours, who want the prospect of more democracy and more opportunity—Australian levels of opportunity—for their children and their future. In this is the key to securing our own children's security and future.

As Mahatma Gandhi observed, the world has enough for everyone's need but not for everyone's greed. A sharing world without need will be a world where terrorism is starved of much of its ill-conceived motivation. Let us aspire in this terrible hour to such a world. Our thoughts are with the thousands of people suffering so much today. We stand with our fellow senators, helpless in undoing this tragedy, heartfelt for its victims and hopeful, indeed determined, that we can contribute to a less violent tomorrow.