Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
I join with Prime Minister’s fine words and second the motion.
I acknowledge the presence in the chamber today of Ambassador Pramono. Thank you very much, Your Excellency, for being here with us.
The terrorist attacks on the United States on the 11th of September, of course, as we know, changed our world.
That moment sparked an escalation in terrorism across the globe.
Emboldened and radicalised individuals, motivated by extremism, they sought to use violence in pursuit of their hateful ideology.
Some were lone wolves.
Others operated as groups with connections to international terror networks.
All though, were determined to kill innocent civilians, en masse where possible, including as suicide bombers.
Those enemies of freedom, those peddlers of fear sought to target, to terrorise and take the lives of innocent people across the globe.
We saw waves of terror hit city after city, including on our own shores.
Australians were tragically killed abroad and at home.
Yet it was the bombings in Bali on Saturday the 12th of October 2002 which, to this day, account for the largest loss of Australian lives from a single terrorist attack.
Just after 11:00 pm on that infamous evening, the tourist district of Kuta was transformed into a killing field.
A place of holidaying became Hell.
Laughter, fun and joy were replaced by screams, by pain and pandemonium.
The first explosion ripped through Paddy’s Irish Bar after a suicide bomber detonated his vest and backpack that he was carrying.
Survivors of that first explosion naturally spilled out onto the street.
Only a minute later, they felt the force of a second larger explosion.
That bomb, housed in a van parked outside the Sari Club, was triggered by another suicide bomber.
Such was the barbarity of those who planned and carried out the attacks, the first bomb was intended to force people to flee towards the second to inflict maximum loss of life.
About 10 kilometres away, a third bomb detonated outside the US Consulate, fortuitously causing only minor damage.
When Prime Minister John Howard addressed the Australian Parliament on the Monday following the attacks, the nation was still in shock.
Indeed, the chaos was still unfolding.
At that point, 14 Australians had been confirmed dead.
More than 100 had been hospitalised in Indonesia.
Some 70 had been evacuated home.
Around 200 remained unaccounted for.
Across the country, anxious family and friends awaited calls and text messages which would confirm their worst fears, bear terrible news, or be cause for enormous relief.
Prime Minister Howard spoke truthfully about the abhorrent nature of terrorism, stating:
“No cause – however explained, however advocated, however twisted, however spun – can possibly justify the indiscriminate, unprovoked slaughter of innocent people that which occurred.
… terrorism is not dispensed according to some hierarchy of disdain; it is dispensed in an indiscriminate, evil, hateful fashion.”
Mr Speaker, over coming days, the full impact of the attacks would emerge.
Eighty-eight Australians were murdered in those monstrous acts.
Many more were left with wounds, seen and unseen, which they continue to live with today.
In total, 202 people were killed, with the victims hailing from more than 20 different nations.
It was Australians, Indonesians and Brits who made-up the majority of the casualties.
It is difficult to comprehend that in 14 days’ time, two decades will have passed since that devastating day.
While an official memorial service will be held on the 20th anniversary, it is fitting that we can commemorate today in this Chamber.
Today, we remember all those Australians who tragically lost their lives.
We think about their families who will always bear the baggage of that devastating loss.
And we acknowledge the strength and stoicism of those who miraculously survived.
Our late Sovereign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II once said:
“… it’s in hardship that we often find strength from our families; it’s in adversity that new friendships are sometimes formed; and it’s in a crisis that communities break down barriers and bind together to help one another.”
That’s exactly what happened in the wake of the Bali Bombings.
Strangers of all nationalities helped care for the wounded and transport them to Indonesian hospitals.
Officials from Foreign Affairs swiftly provided crisis management coordination and consular assistance.
In all, they responded to some 30,000 phone calls from concerned Australians.
Within 24 hours, our incredible men and women of the Australian Defence Force were on the ground as part of Operation Bali Assist.
They brought with them medical staff and supplies and commenced evacuations of those injured, including Indonesians, to Australia.
Doctors and nurses in Australian hospitals, especially in Darwin and Perth, worked heroically around the clock to treat patients and conduct life-saving procedures.
Among them – as the Prime Minister rightly pointed out – was Dr Fiona Wood and her team who treated 28 burns victims with the spray-on skin technology she helped to pioneer.
The Australian Federal Police were in Bali too working hand-in-hand with their Indonesian counterparts, identifying victims and gathering effort to support investigations.
Their efforts, along with those of our intelligence agencies, would see the perpetrators from JI [Jemaah Islamiyah] brought to justice.
The AFP’s work was one of the most momentous operations undertaken in Australian law enforcement history, involving some 500 members, including 100 deployed to Bali.
In addition to new specialised counter-terrorism training, the AFP introduced a Family Liaison Program to support survivors and the families of the victims.
The bilateral diplomatic, defence and law enforcement collaboration established in those darkest hours continues today.
Indeed, in the years since the Bali Bombings, Australian and Indonesian counter-terrorism cooperation has led to the arrests of hundreds suspects and the thwarting of many planned attacks.
Australian governments of all stripes and at all levels have implemented new measures to hinder terrorists and protect the public.
Information sharing and counter-terrorism collaboration with international counterparts is today more sophisticated than ever.
Importantly, we also acknowledge today the 39,000 Australians who served in Afghanistan and the Middle East over a period of 20 years.
It must never be forgotten that their service – including that of 41 souls who made the ultimate sacrifice – helped to pin down terrorists, deny evildoers a safe haven, and prevent many Bali-like attacks from taking place around the world, including in our own country.
In the aftermath of the Bali Bombings, friendships have been forged among the survivors, and that we celebrate.
Families who lost lives and loved ones, they’ve found some solace in companionship.
Communities and sporting organisations – especially the AFL, rugby league and rugby union clubs which lost players on that fateful night – have formed unbreakable bonds.
And from the tragedy of one evening has come two decades of commendable and charitable deeds.
Survivors have returned to the site of the bombings.
Victims’ families have paid their respects at the memorial in Kuta.
Some, understandably, will never be able to make that journey.
To the families who lost loved ones, and to the survivors of the Bali Bombings:
Most Australians will never be able to comprehend what you have gone through…
What you are going through today and as we approach the 20th anniversary of that dreadful day…
And what you will endure for the rest of your lives.
But, we are inspired by how you have lived your lives in spite of your suffering, your loss and your heartbreak.
Every day of endurance is a magnificent blow to an odious ideology.
Every day of courage is the confident roar of freedom in defiance of that cowardly evil.
And every decade of achievement is a triumph over terrorism.
Today, we honour the memory of the victims of the Bali Bombings, we acknowledge their families, and we express our admiration for the survivors.
In remembrance we pay our respects.
In commemoration we commit to never forgetting this national tragedy.
And in tribute we renew our resolve to thwart acts of terrorism whatever form they take.