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Friday, 26 November 2010
Page: 2331

Senator BRANDIS (9:11 AM) —I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

I table an explanatory memorandum relating to the bill and seek leave to have the second reading speech incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speech read as follows—

This is a very important bill, because it is about trying to assist Australians who are casualties of overseas terrorism.

We have seen on several major occasions now how the Islamist terrorism of the past decade has touched ordinary Australian citizens.

In the World Trade Centre on September 11 there were Australian victims; tragically, in Bali in

2002 and again in 2005 there were Australian victims; and in London, and twice in Jakarta, there were Australian victims.

All up, over the past decade more than 300 Australians have been killed or seriously injured as a result of terrorism.

In some cases, Australians became casualties because they were Australians.

If we take the second Bali bombing: the bombers went to that beachside restaurant in Bali precisely because they knew there would be Australians there.

In other instances, of course, it was because they were citizens of the West generally or in Western cities,

Through the bill we are debating I am proposing a national scheme, analogous to the state victims of crime schemes, to facilitate financial assistance for persons who suffer injury as a consequence of terrorist acts overseas or for the next of kin of those who are killed by terrorist acts overseas.

I am not proposing a massively costly scheme.

Using the average of 30 victims per year we have seen over the past decade, it would cost the Commonwealth government about $2.25 million per annum.

If there is any responsibility of the federal government, it is surely to protect and look after Australians who get into trouble abroad.

That should include those Australians who are victims of terrorism.

Senator BRANDIS —I seek leave to continue my remarks later.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.