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Transcript of doorstop interview: Canberra: 19 July 2009: Jakarta Bombings; Australian Soldier Killed in Afghanistan.



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Prime Minister of Australia Published on Prime Minister of Australia (http://www.pm.gov.au)

Interview 19 July 2009 Transcript Canberra 19 JULY 2009 Subject(s): Jakarta Bombings; Australian Soldier Killed in Afghanistan

PM:Today is a really sad time for all Australians. I can confirm the death of Mr Garth McEvoy in the terrorist bombings in Jakarta on Friday and that two other Australians, Craig Senger and Nathan Verity are also presumed dead.

The Foreign Minister, as you know, is in Jakarta and I spoke to him last night and he had just spoken with Craig Senger’s wife. And I understand the Foreign Minister has also spoken with family members of Nathan Verity. I spoke myself last night to Craig Senger’s mum, who lives here in Canberra. Mrs Senger senior, Joan, lost her husband only a month or so ago. He was buried in this church, and Craig Senger delivered the eulogy here. This is a very sad time for that family.

The Department of Foreign Affairs advises me that, to the best of their knowledge, apart from military officers and police officers, this is the first Australian Government official to be killed by a terrorist attack in the line of duty. It’s therefore a sad day for the Australian official community, given the loss which has been suffered.

I think I speak on behalf of all Australians when I say our thoughts and our prayers and our hearts go out to so many grieving families across Australia today.

It’s also a sad day for the Australian Defence community. Australia has lost another soldier in Afghanistan. He was killed yesterday. This fine Australian soldier was a 22-year-old from the 1st Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment based in Townsville. He previously served in East Timor in 2007, and was in the early stages of his deployment to Operation Slipper with the Mentoring and Reconstruction Taskforce 2.

This brave Australian soldier has paid the ultimate sacrifice for his country. He was the 11th Australian soldier to lose his life in Afghanistan. The family of this soldier have asked that no further details be released at this time and I’d ask the media to respect the wishes of the family. Our thoughts and our prayers are with his partner, family, friends, and of course his comrades - those here at home and those still in the field in Afghanistan.

Another Australian soldier has been seriously wounded and we wish him God speed for a full recovery, and of course our thoughts and our prayers are with him and his family as well.

I’m also advised that three Afghan civilians were injured in the events of yesterday, including an eight-year-old boy.

In the light of these terrible events in Afghanistan yesterday, it’s important for us all to remember here in Australia that Afghanistan has been a training ground for terrorists worldwide, a training ground also for terrorists in South-East Asia, reminding us of the reasons that we are in that field of combat and reaffirming our resolve to remain committed to that cause. It is in our long-term interest that we remain absolutely rock-solid in our commitment there.

Over to you, if you’ve got anything you’d like to ask.

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JOURNALIST: Mr Rudd, just with regard to Jakarta, yesterday you convened for the third time the National Security Committee. What was the outcome of that?

PM: We went through a series of operational matters concerning our best continuing analysis of those responsible for this appalling attack. Can I also say that the Australian Government will leave no stone unturned in bringing to justice the perpetrators of this violent, barbaric act of murder. That’s what it is - a violent, barbaric act of murder. Three Australians have lost their lives, and others as well.

JOURNALIST: Mr Rudd, on the Afghanistan soldier, what can you say to Australians who may be doubting the progress that’s being made?

PM: Today is a time to remember the courage and sacrifice of the soldier who has fallen and to remind ourselves afresh of the reasons why our men and women in uniform are putting themselves on the front line in the field of battle. That reason, again, is that Afghanistan has been an open training ground in the past for terrorists worldwide, and the reason we are there with our friends and allies is to prevent that from becoming the case again in the future.

Thank you.

[ends]

Interview Infrastructure & Regional Developments Security, Law & Justice

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