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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 12 Hansard (12 November) . . Page.. 3411 ..

MRS DUNNE (continuing):

Our indomitable Australian spirit means that we will not take the path of moral cowardice and the dishonour of acquiescence. It is obvious to most Australians that, far from reducing our exposure to future terrorist attacks, such a path has the potential to make us a much larger and softer target.

Australia will not cease to be a home and a safe haven for people from all over the world because of the attacks of September 11, 2001 and October 12, 2002. Australia's robust tolerance will continue to be an example to all. We will continue to foster our multicultural society as an example of co-existence and tolerance, because we know that al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah stands in the same relationship to mainstream Islam as the IRA to mainstream Christianity. We know that there are groups whose tactics are clearly contrary to the traditional teachings they purport to uphold and are not supported by the vast majority of the supporters of those creeds who have made Australia their home.

But things will change, Mr Speaker. We will have to be on our guard. There will be that extra bit of caution; there will be extra anxiety as our children travel. There will be changed security measures. But be warned: Australians will not tolerate ostentatious or excessive infringements of their civil rights, especially if it is only for cosmetic purposes. But whatever changes, Mr Speaker, we know that we will always be able to draw on the indomitable Australian spirit.

MR PRATT: Mr Speaker, I rise to commemorate the death of so many innocent people in Bali. In doing so, I join in the grieving with their families. I would like to make the point that I think the families of the Bali victims would expect the Australian community to grieve along with them and to commemorate the victims, their own loved ones.

The families would also expect us not to confuse this great and tragic loss by talking about what this disaster means for the security and well-being of our nation, and the freedoms and security of democratic nations around the world. The families of the Bali victims and the majority of the Australian public would not expect us, in remembering the victims here today, to raise issues of an international political nature as the primary issue of discussion.

Mr Speaker, given my close ties with the Australian Muslim community, I would like to point out that the great majority of Australian Muslims also abhor what occurred in Bali.

Let us here today commemorate the deaths of these brave young Australians, people from other countries and their Balinese friends and reflect seriously on our preparedness to minimise such future threats. Let us not gnash our teeth about the alleged reasons for terrorism. Let us here today remember those who were the victims of an abomination.

Question resolved in the affirmative, members standing in their places.

Statement by member

MRS CROSS: Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make a brief statement relating to my status in this Assembly.

Leave granted.

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