Page 1725 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 3 May 2011

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Many Australians have lost their lives and lost loved ones. But this is a truly global phenomenon and is indeed a multi-faith phenomenon. This is not something that has just affected Westerners or Christians. It has affected people of all faiths. And most particularly, it has actually affected Muslim people.

I think that if we look at the events of recent times we see that the Arab world is turning away from the sort of terror that was inspired by Osama Bin Laden. And we see the outbreak of democracy movements in Syria, Iran, Egypt and Libya and other places throughout the Middle East. I think it gives us great encouragement that the Arab world has seen the atrocities that have been inspired by Osama Bin Laden and, in large part, has rejected them. Of course there are many that still follow his mad doctrine. But hopefully the events that were announced yesterday will serve to diminish some of the inspiration that he has provided to those people.

I think that this is a significant event to people of the US because, of any country in the Western world, they have borne the brunt of the terrorism inspired by Osama Bin Laden. We think of September 11 most particularly. But the Americans, in taking their fights to the terrorists, have made mistakes along the way. It is easy, in retrospect, to say that they may have made some mistakes but they have certainly led the way in the cause of freedom. They have lost, I think it is, over 4,000 lives in Iraq. They have lost a growing number of troops in Afghanistan. They have carried a significant burden, as I mentioned. So I commend them on what they have done in the leadership of the Western world.

It has obviously been a burden on Australia and a burden on our forces as well. We only have a small defence force and a particularly small army. And in many ways our army has been at war since 1999, with the East Timor intervention and then Afghanistan and Iraq. For many of our soldiers and other servicemen, it is going to be a great boost to their morale. Osama Bin Laden, regardless of whether he is technically in control and whether he is calling the shots anymore, is, I guess, in some ways the iconic figure for those who would wish to do harm against us.

I think that it is going to be a long fight ahead of us. No-one thinks that this is the end of terrorism. I think that is years if not decades away. But there is no doubt that this is a blow to the enemies of freedom and is a great boost to the morale of those who are fighting the enemy. So I think it is worth reflecting on this great event. Although no-one rejoices in death and in killing, I think that the death of Osama Bin Laden is something that we can all welcome in the ACT.

Rotary Club of Belconnen

MR COE (Ginninderra) (3.19): On 20 April the Rotary Club of Belconnen celebrated 40 years of serving the community with a celebration dinner held that evening with 114 people in attendance, including a number of MLAs. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend. The club was chartered as the Rotary Club of Canberra—Belconnen in 1971 with 20 members. Since that time the club has grown and has chartered two other clubs—Ginninderra and Hall. The club is actively engaged in the community. Particular thanks are due to the enthusiastic executive led by the president,

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