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Opposition Leader discusses the bomb blast in Bali.



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LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

TRANSCRIPT 0F INTERVIEW - RADIO 3AW, NEIL MITCHELL - 14th OCTOBER 2002.

E & OE - PROOF ONLY

Subjects: Bali Terrorist Attack.

MITCHELL: Mr Crean good morning.

CREAN: Good morning Neil.

MITCHELL: Have you spoke to the Prime Minister?

CREAN: Yes I have, I spoke with him yesterday, I had a full briefing last night when I came up to Canberra, to bring us up to date and I suggested to the Prime Minister that as a mark of respect today we should adjourn the Parliament, having carried a, an agreed resolution that expresses sympathy for the families and commits the assistance that’s needed to bring them home and to get them the best medical treatment. But also reaffirms our resolve to crack down on the terrorists and bring the perpetrators to justice. The Prime Minister’s agreed to that, the Parliament will be putting that resolution at 2 o’clock and it will then be adjourning as a mark of respect.

MITCHELL: What do we do now? What happens next? I mean we’ve got to get the people back, we’ve got to identify those dead etcetera, and the rest of that, but then what do we do?

CREAN: And we’ve got to do the grieving with them. I mean this is a horror circumstance Neil, this is our blackest day since the Second World War. If it were not for the magnitude of September the 11th and the World Trade Centres this would be one of the largest sets of victims as a result of a terrorist act. I mean this is huge and there is going to be a lot of grief. And when you think of it, everyone knows Bali, they’ve either been there or they know someone that’s been there. It’s a get away place, it’s not a blow away place and this is what’s happened so I think there’s going to be a lot of that Neil, and I think that we do have to have a national day of mourning, I’ve suggested that for the Prime Minister as well. But I think that in practical

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terms we just have to be, we have to assess all of the facts that have led to this. We need better cooperation with the Indonesians, clearly there’s been a break down there. We need to resolve, not just to be united here in Australia to fight the terrorists, but to have a regional and global response to do it as well. These people have to be hunted down. They have to be brought to justice.

MITCHELL: You mentioned yesterday that the coalition that was formed after the September 11 attacks, you said the same thing should happen here. What sort of coalition is that? Who should be involved in that?

CREAN: Well I think all of those committed to the cause of stamping out terrorism and I would hope that that would be the great and small nations of the world. I think it has to be done through the United Nations in the way in which it was done before. This was something around which nations rallied immediately after September the 11th. This has got to be another rallying call and we have to recognise, as Australians, that this is on our doorstep. We have to forge better relations with our Indonesian neighbours and what it shoots home to Indonesia is that these cells are in their country. Now advice was given to them along those lines. There’s a view that they didn’t act decisively enough, they can’t ignore this now. And whilst in all of these things people, especially in grief, look to place blame and all of those sorts of things, I just think that we’ve got to understand the horror of this and resolve to avoid it in the future, to take whatever steps we can.

MITCHELL: I know you’re in a hurry, do you think this indicates Australia is at a greater risk of attack?

CREAN: No that’s not the advice I’ve had Neil, and I asked that question myself last night. There’s no doubt the people who planned this callous act knew that they were targeting holiday makers and they knew that there would be lots of Australians in there. But to say Australia was targeted, that’s not what we’re being told, and to say that this makes us a bigger target, it’s not the advice that I’ve been getting. Nevertheless, it is another wake up call. We have to be vigilant, and we have to resolve to take whatever steps are necessary to defend ourselves much better and to protect our citizens. This sort of stuff shouldn’t happen, it has happened and we’re in a new era now. This terrorism and the threat of terrorism is now the world’s number one threat and we’ve got to crack down on it.

MITCHELL: Just finally, I’m getting calls from many people with relatives still missing in Kuta, in the area who obviously fear they’ve been killed and they’re having enormous trouble getting through or getting any answers from the Foreign Affairs numbers. Is there anything that can be done to expand those?

CREAN: Yeah look my suggestion, I asked this last night too of the Foreign Affairs people, if people are having difficulty, I would suggest that

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they try and get in touch with their local Member of Parliament and to try and seek to get the information through them. All of us up here are dreadfully concerned about this. We want to help. Today is a day of mourning. Parliament is not sitting. Members of Parliament will have time to actually address this. They are very concerned about people who are their constituents and families associated with it. So if people are, I suggest Neil that they try a Member of Parliament’s office and we’ll try and assist in any way we can.

MITCHELL: You mean their Electorate Offices, or their Canberra Offices?

CREAN: I think the Electorate Office and come through to the Canberra Office. But I think that we need to try and assist and play a constructive role in meeting this huge crisis that we face.

MITCHELL: Thank you very much for your time, I know you’re in a hurry, the Opposition Leader Simon Crean.

ENDS