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INDONESIA: TERRORIST ATTACKS

Mr CADMAN (Mitchell) (8.22 p.m.) —This has been a sad process for the parliament as we have examined the affairs in Bali. The concept of terrorism is to disrupt, to overshadow, to subjugate, to make uncertain, to have people lose confidence and to make them unsure of their day-to-day living. The purpose of terrorism is to strike in an indiscriminate manner so that people do not know, cannot suspect and cannot plan their lives. [start page 8098]

The whole purpose of terrorism and its use by fundamentalist Islamic groups is to change the confidence of the West and to have the West withdraw into a shell. That process has been applied by a number of regimes but particularly by the Palestinian fundamentalists to Israel. I note my colleague Mr Danby in the chamber and I know that he understands how the Israeli people have not once drawn back from confronting the very essence of terrorism in what it intends or seeks to impose on a people to bring them to a standstill and make them impotent.

These young Australians who have given their lives have launched us into a new era where innocence to some degree is gone, where the joy of freedom and complete openness and access has been removed to some degree. Australians will be more careful and they will be more cautious in future in all of their contacts and interrelationships. That is a sad thing, because the character of an Australian is to be open and dynamic, not to be confrontational but to be clear and willing to accept every other person's outlook no matter what angle they are coming from. That has changed with this attack. I do not know whether the attack was directed at Australians, but Australians have suffered by the process. I believe it was more likely directed at the Western world that cannot be tolerated or understood by the fundamentalists who perpetrate terrorism.

What can we do? We can mourn with those who mourn, we can support those who suffer and we can give sustenance to those who have had much taken away. We can also remain resolute and determined that we will not give in to such pressure. We can remain resolute and determined that we will not forgo what is the very essence of Australia's freedom in the hearts and souls and the dynamic attitude that has built this country.

I have studied Indonesia for some time and I understand its diversity and the difficulty of managing such a widely dispersed nation with so many cultural differences. I met Mr Wahid when he was in Australia and spent some time with him. President Megawati, who succeeded him, is endeavouring to continue the nation-building process. Australia must wish them well and seek to assist them because I do not detect in either of those individuals any truck with terrorism. But I see a weakness and an inability to act where terror expresses itself. So, by friendship and support and by some toughness which is required amongst friends at times, I believe that we can assist the Indonesian people to take charge of their destiny in a way that they have not in the past.

I want to pay tribute to all sections of this parliament. What a privilege it has been to be part of this and to observe the leadership of the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition joining together, to have every element of government and the resources of this parliament directed to helping our fellow Australians. I have got a pile press releases: every minister has done something or said something. Every significant person in the opposition has said something or done something. Whether it is the offer of sustenance by a backbench member to those families in their electorate who have suffered, or to set in train the great machinery of government in Defence or intelligence services to try and bring about protection and security for the future of this nation, everybody had done something. Whether it is the outpouring of support for families through the Red Cross and through counselling and other services being put together by Australian Red Cross, or the support services of the RAAF as they move people and the tragedy of bringing bodies back home—it is something we have not experienced for many years. Every aspect of Australia is focused on this issue, and that is one of the healthy and determinative factors: we are not going to give into this pressure. You can take examples from those around the world who have not given in and who do survive, and who hold themselves proudly and continue to build their nation. This is a young nation which we are continuing to build, and I want to pay tribute to those that have gone before and those who are determined to continue the reputation that we have established in the world.

Author: Alan Cadman MP
Source: House Hansard - 22/10/02
Release Date: 24 Oct 2002

 
 




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