Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 12 Hansard (12 November) . . Page.. 3403 ..
MR QUINLAN (continuing):
that it takes several deaths in a neighbourhood to have possibly something like the same impact.
This particular event has impacted upon us all because somehow we can relate to those families. The benefit and the curse of modern communications has allowed that situation to be put right in our laps. I am afraid that I fell into watching virtually every report, every television show, that related to the Bali event, to the point that I became quite depressed. I have to say my good partner, Margaret, said, "I think you've watched enough."I don't know how much is enough to really appreciate the event, to appreciate particularly the consequences of this event.
As Mr Humphries pointed out, it is an event that took place very close to our own shores, and that does give cause to reflect upon degrees of removal between ourselves and these events. Just to exemplify that, there are quite a number of Canberrans directly involved in the aftermath of this event. There were AFP officers on leave from Timor in Bali at the time. We now have AFP officers involved in the investigation of the event. There are something in the order of 50 or so people involved in the disaster victim identification team, a job which must be one of the most harrowing that anybody could be called upon to undertake.
In Canberra, hundreds of officers of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade volunteered immediately to staff the department's crisis and call centres. Similarly, social workers and customer service officers at Centrelink staffed the agency's call centre to assist distressed people calling for help.
One of the victims was treated at Canberra Hospital. Thirty people from the Department of Defence have travelled to Bali, including medical personnel, chaplains, investigators and psychologists. Canberrans generally have given generously to the Red Cross appeal in support of Bali.
I, like many people, grapple with the concept of terrorism and fail to understand it completely. I do share the concern for the future and for the position we find ourselves in where we now accept that it is distinctly possible for an horrendous act of terrorism to occur on Australian shores and in our city.
I take some encouragement from the reassurances of the moderate Muslims who have condemned terrorism in the name of Islam, and I do hope that in the future they are the ones that prevail. I hope that the world does learn some lessons from what has happened in the last 13 to 14 months. I hope that we can learn to work much harder to achieve a tolerant world-a world in which it is possible for people to believe that they have a future-and that the world will work collectively for the overall benefit of humankind.
MR STEFANIAK: I, too, was immensely shocked and saddened by the dreadful events in Bali. There was a great loss of life-I think in excess of 180 people, probably over half of whom will be Australian; and to date 59 Australians have been confirmed as having been killed. I actually knew one of the deceased, and I will come to that in a minute. It is an event that has touched so many people in Australia. It has shown, as a couple of other speakers have said today, just how vulnerable we are. It could happen here.