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Wednesday, 15 October 2003
Page: 21582

Mrs MOYLAN (11:22 AM) —Certainly the days leading up to the first anniversary of the Bali bombings have been deeply moving, as the memories for the families and friends of victims and for those who still suffer and bear the scars of the attack are still so intense. You cannot help but be moved by the personal accounts of grief and pain by family members. Those accounts have really touched the heart of the nation.

The event has bound the nation by a common resolve not to be cowed by atrocious acts of terrorism. It has bound the nation with the stories of heroism and generosity of spirit, as people from all walks of life have reached out to the injured and to the families and friends of those who died. It has bound us together through the courageous return to Bali of families and friends in the last few days to grieve together and with the Balinese people—the Balinese people that many Australians have grown to love for their gentle, peaceful disposition. My thoughts are with the many who grieve the loss of family members and friends, those who are still recovering from their horrendous injuries and those who will continue to bear the scars of that terrible event.

To the families in my electorate whose lives have been changed so very dramatically and for whom there is little relief from the deep sadness and emptiness that accompany such a life-shattering event, I extend my deepest sympathy and, of course, my support. I pay tribute to the men and women of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Federal Police, Centrelink, the military, the medical staff and the many other individuals and organisations who worked so incredibly hard around the clock for many weeks and, indeed, months to help the families in so many ways. I have to say that the DFAT people in my electorate who initially responded did so very quickly over weekends—well and truly outside normal hours—and they were just marvellous. Nothing was too much trouble. I pay tribute to the work that was done by those many generous people.

I would also like to thank my colleague the member for Cowan for his generosity of spirit and for the support that he gave. I also thank Cheryl Edwards, a state member of parliament, who was on the phone so early offering her support. I suppose we shared in common the grief of families whose sons played for the Kingsley Football Club and never returned from their holiday in Bali. It tended to bind us together. I appreciated, as I said, the generosity of spirit that came across the political divide.

It is not an appropriate time to go on at length about Indonesia, one of our closest neighbours. But I think it is appropriate to briefly mention that, when you consider the stark reality of managing one of the world's most populous countries—and, if my memory serves me right, I think it is the third most populous country or close to it—which spreads over a vast archipelago and has a diverse ethnic population and areas of gripping poverty, it is exceptional that Indonesia has so rapidly brought to justice many of the main perpetrators of these dreadful criminal acts. I think it is really remarkable and we need to acknowledge that, as so many speakers have done.

I was an observer of the Indonesian elections a few years ago. I have to say that I could not help but marvel at the ability of Indonesia—on the heels of one of the worst economic crises that the region had seen for a very long time—to move to a democratic system of government and to put in place the establishment that helps to make a democratic country run smoothly. Despite all the problems of a high illiteracy rate and, as I said, gripping and grinding poverty, they managed to achieve a reasonably peaceful democratic election, and it certainly was a major step forward for the people of Indonesia.

Perhaps from this dreadful event will spring a greater understanding between our peoples and a continuing determination to work together toward eliminating terrorism and committing to peace in the region. I think this event can serve to draw us closer together and bring between our countries, our peoples, a greater understanding of each other's cultures and the constraints under which we work. In my view, there certainly could be no greater tribute to the Australians and the Indonesians who lost their lives than a deep resolve to work together to prevent an occurrence such as this ever happening again.