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Thursday, 20 September 2001
Page: 31171

FRAN BAILEY (5:34 PM) — This past week has been a week in our history marked as a period of very great sadness. We have reflected on what has happened not only in the United States with the barbaric terrorist attacks but also here in Australia to Ansett and its employees. Ansett has always been well known throughout Australia.

This evening I want to say a few words about the tragedy that occurred in United States. Like every other Australian and people all around the world, I am still coming to terms with the full extent of the horror and devastation that was deliberately and callously inflicted on innocent people going about their business on 11 September in New York and Washington DC. Like so many other people in this age of instant global communication, I was a witness to the second plane that was deliberately flown by terrorists into the South Tower of the World Trade Centre. I witnessed this simply because, like millions of people all around the world, I had turned on my TV set to catch up on the late news.

Many words have been written to describe the enormity of the act but the one word that keeps recurring in my mind is `evil'. No other word adequately describes the planning and execution of such an act. The deliberate hijacking of four planes, fully loaded with passengers and fuel—the planes were at the start of their journeys—and the use of those passenger planes as missiles to destroy significant buildings, symbols of freedom and democracy, with thousands of people in them going about their daily lives, was an evil act.

In the months and years to come, when the tangled mass that was once the twin towers of the World Trade Centre and the destroyed section of the Pentagon have been cleared and rebuilt, those frightening images of explosion, fireballs and especially the towers crumbling and taking the lives of thousands of the inhabitants of those towers will never be erased. This evil and barbaric act will never be forgotten, nor should it, because evil has no place whatever in our civilised society.

Our hearts are burdened and saddened by the loss of so many thousands of good people, including Australian citizens, who have been killed and by the plight of those who are still missing. Our hearts are full of pride for all those who work daily to search for any victims still surviving and who courageously put themselves at risk. Our hearts are full of sympathy for the countless thousands of families who today are without a husband, wife, father, mother, son, daughter or friend because of the evil intent and evil acts of those terrorists. Their attack on the United States on 11 September was also an attack on the very freedom that underpins our Australian way of life, and it will not be allowed to go unanswered. The fact that so many nations around the world have responded so quickly and so positively in support of eliminating this sort of evil is a sign that civilised societies want to end this sort of terror.

Here in our national parliament on Monday, all members of the House and Senate joined together in prayer at the memorial service and we joined together in this chamber to support a motion of condolence by the Prime Minister. As a free and democratic nation, we will never sit in silence when such evil exists. We will use every opportunity to oppose such evil. On behalf of the people of McEwen whom I represent, I wish to pass on my heartfelt sympathy to all those affected, either directly or indirectly, by this barbaric terrorist attack.