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Monday, 21 October 2002
Page: 5474

Senator JOHNSTON (2:13 PM) —My question is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Hill. Will the minister inform the Senate of the international reaction to the Bali bombings?

Senator HILL (Minister for Defence) —The international response to the attacks on innocent civilians in Bali last week has been swift and strong. The international community has roundly condemned this latest act of barbarity. Messages condemning the bombings and offering condolences have come from the United Nations, the United States, the UK, New Zealand, Canada, China, Japan and a host of others. President Bush has sent a personal message of support and sympathy to the Australian people and has made it clear that the US will support our efforts to track down those responsible for these attacks.

It is also particularly pleasing to see such a strong response from the nations in our own region, many of whom are grappling with the internal threat posed by terrorist cells. The messages of support from nations around the world have provided reassurance that Australia is not alone in its hour of need. Many of these nations have offered practical assistance in the aftermath of the bombings. The United States, Britain, Japan, Germany and others have sent specialist investigators to Bali to assist in the work of figuring out how the attacks unfolded and to take part in the search for evidence which would indicate who is responsible. As I said last week, the New Zealand government made available a C130 Hercules from the Royal New Zealand Air Force to assist in the evacuation of the injured from Bali. Our government and the Australian people are extremely grateful for these efforts, not just for the practical benefits they have brought but also for their symbolic significance.

Not only Australian citizens lost their lives in this senseless attack; citizens from New Zealand, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Nigeria, Greece, Poland, Switzerland, Portugal and Brazil are believed to be among the dead, and of course many Balinese also lost their lives in this attack. It only goes to show that this was an indiscriminate attack aimed at bringing about the greatest possible loss of life and the greatest possible terror impact. Mr President, it has underlined that no-one is safe from terrorists and that terrorism is a problem which all nations must confront.