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Tuesday, 15 October 2002
Page: 5206

Senator KIRK (8:23 PM) —This evening I rise to speak on the recent tragedy in Bali and its impact on my state of South Australia. Flags fly at half-mast today all over Australia in recognition of the significance that the recent terrorist attacks on Bali hold for all Australians. It is estimated that the death toll will be in excess of 180. Australians are likely to be a significant proportion of that number. Latest reports indicate that 20 Australians have been confirmed dead. It is believed that 113 Australians have been injured and a further 160 remain unaccounted for. The likely Australian death toll should emerge within the next 48 hours.

I wish to express my deepest sympathy to the families and friends of the victims of this tragedy. I, like all Australians, have been deeply shocked by the terrorist bombings on the Indonesian island of Bali. The attacks represent the greatest loss of life due to terrorism since the September 11 attack on the World Trade Centre in New York. In fact, the number of Australians per capita affected by the bombing is likely to exceed that of Americans in the September 11 tragedy. We should also remember, however, that it is not only Australians who are mourning this tragedy; tourists from many other countries have also been lost in the blast. The final death toll of Indonesians may well rival that of Australians.

This is an incident that will greatly scar the Australian psyche. This attack on Australia's most popular holiday island has brought the awful realities of terrorism home to us. Whilst this attack has had a deep impact across the nation, as a Labor senator for South Australia I would like to highlight the tragedy faced by my home state. It is estimated that up to 2,900 South Australians were in Bali over the weekend. Inevitably, a number of those are among the dead, missing and/or injured.

The Golotta family from Tea Tree Gully in Adelaide's northern suburbs face a deeply personal tragedy. John and Tracey Golotta took their daughter Angela, their son Michael and his girlfriend on a two-week holiday to Bali. On the night of the attack their teenage daughter Angela stayed on at the Sari Club with friends while the rest of the family went back to their hotel. After a gruesome search, following the blast, through the Sanglah Hospital looking for their daughter, the family—in particular, Mr Golotta— identified Angela as one of the dead.

Many of our nation's sporting teams choose Bali as the destination for their end of season trip. For South Australia, it was the Sturt Football Club and SANFL premiership team that were partying at the Sari Club on Saturday, 12 October. Twenty of them had arrived in Bali only hours before the attack to celebrate Sturt's first SANFL premiership in 26 years. Many of the team-mates were also at the Sari Club and received injuries, some serious.

Josh Deegan, aged just 22, a promising young player for the Sturt club's reserves team, was yesterday confirmed to be among the dead. This tragic announcement was made to his fellow players just before they arrived back at Adelaide Airport and to anxious family, friends and fans. The Sturt trainer, Bob Marshall, is still missing. He was a club official, a Sturt footballer in his youth, who had a 50-year association with the Double Blues. Whilst we still hold out hope that he will be found alive, the South Australian Premier has offered the club access to counselling, as they need it, in response to these two tragic apparent deaths.

Often it is the waiting and not knowing that is the most difficult for those affected. While South Australians eagerly await news of the injured and the missing, they are also participating in the massive relief effort that is required by a tragedy of this magnitude. The Royal Adelaide Hospital has sent three medical teams, comprising some of South Australia's best doctors and nurses, to Darwin to treat the injured retrieved by the Royal Australian Air Force from Bali. Dr Bill Griggs heads the state's retrieval trauma assistance team, Dr Peter Sharley heads a retrieval team and Dr John Greenwood heads a specialist burns team. Five critical burns patients injured in the blast have been airlifted to the Royal Adelaide Hospital's specialist burns unit.

All Adelaide metropolitan hospitals and intensive care units are on stand-by. Emergency cases have been diverted away from the Royal Adelaide Hospital to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the Flinders Medical Centre. Some South Australians have had elective surgery cancelled to make way for the increased pressure on the state's medical services. In addition, the state's mental health services have had a three-stage response in place. A dedicated hotline at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital has been set up for those wanting advice and counselling about the tragedy. The Queen Elizabeth Hospital's department of psychological medicine has set up counselling teams for people who arrive back from Bali. It is important that we recognise not only the physical injuries inflicted on Australians but also the psychological ones arising from this tragedy. Those physically injured will be provided with trauma counselling at each hospital that I identified. Their relatives will also be offered counselling support.

In addition to the excellent services provided by our public health system, ordinary South Australians have shown their eagerness to help out, with urgently needed blood donations showing their active support for their fellow South Australians. The South Australian government has also made available its resources to the Commonwealth during this crisis. In particular, assistance has been made available in the areas of forensic analysis and trauma counselling and through our excellent medical retrieval services. South Australia Police are offering intelligence and investigational support to discover the details of this attack and its perpetrators.

There is strong bipartisan support in Australia and of course in this parliament for efforts to crack down on terrorism. This incident highlights the need for Australia to remain vigilant against the threat of what is truly international terrorism. Future days will provide us with ample time to analyse what this attack means for Australia. At present we must continue to provide relief and support to the victims, their families and friends as the nation struggles to come to terms with this disaster.