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Transcript 18840

Speech to the Bali Bombings Tenth Anniversary Memorial Service

Photo of Gillard, Julia

Gillard, Julia

Period of Service: 24/06/2010 to 27/06/2013

More information about Gillard, Julia on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 12/10/2012

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 18840

Bali, Indonesia


Today, we gather to commemorate the worst terrorist attack our nation has ever known.

88 Australians died here. And they did not die alone.

38 Indonesians died with them.

In all, 202 lives were lost and more than 200 were injured.

The bodies of the dead and the living bore wounds more often seen in wartime.

But these were not soldiers.

Our fellow Australians - those lost, those hurt - were doing nothing more than seeking a few carefree days amid full and busy lives.

They had come to a place loved for its sunshine and uncomplicated joy.

A place, like London and Gallipoli, where something of the Australian spirit dwells upon another shore.

This is what the Bali bombers struck at here.

On September 11, terrorists attacked the great symbols of American prestige.

Here in Bali, they attacked our people and through them, sought to overwhelm our values.

Here on these bustling streets, they inflicted searing pain and grief that will never end.

But even as the debris fell, it was obvious the attack on our sense of ourselves - as Australians, as human beings - had failed.

Rescuers ran towards the terror.

Volunteers extended their hands by the hundred, Indonesians and Australian alike.

A remarkable medical rescue effort swung into place.

A thorough policing effort methodically dismantled the terrorist network responsible.

And our two countries drew closer than we ever had before.

Amid the horror, it was a time for heroes. Like Peter Hughes and Jason McCartney, victims who became rescuers.

Like the Sanglah Hospital staff who provided frontline care in those first critical hours.

Or Len Notaras, Fiona Wood and their colleagues who were angels of healing back at home.

It was a time for leaders too.

President Megawati and then Minister Yudhoyono were quick to embrace international cooperation and a decisive security response.

Prime Minister Howard was a steadfast, reassuring voice for Australians in those dramatic days, and it is very fitting that he is here today.

Police Inspector General Pastika and Commissioner Keelty gave us confidence that justice would be done.

Ten years later and we witness today another sort of courage: the courage it has taken for the survivors and families to make this pilgrimage.

The physical journey by plane has been easy but the inner journey is wrenchingly hard.

This is a day of contesting emotions, from anger and unamended loss to forgiveness and reconciliation with a bitter past.

Wounds and scars abound, healed and unhealed.

But nothing can replace the empty seat at your family table.

The graduations and christenings you will never know.

And the fault line that will always divide your lives into two halves: “before” and “after” Bali.

There are, at least, some fragments of comfort on this day of recollection and return.

There is peace in this island, and the knowledge that millions still come here for the same reasons you and your loved ones did.

And perhaps there is a grim reassurance in knowing that the terrorists did not achieve what they set out to do.

They did not undermine Indonesian democracy, which has only grown stronger across the passage of a decade.

And though our vigilance is greater, we have not surrendered the freedoms that brought us here in the first place.

We were hurt and so were our friends, but we did not falter.

Instead, we endured and found strength in each other.

With that strength, we embrace those who suffered in Bali and lost so much.

With that strength, we affirm the endurance of our ideals.

Because in the end, terror is not beaten by policing or force of arms alone.

We prevail because we have a better way.

We prevail because our beliefs endure.

Terrorists have killed and maimed thousands around the world.

But they will never sunder or displace a single ideal.

So today we return here in remembrance, but we also gather in quiet defiance.

We will never forget all that we lost.

We will hold fast to that which remains:

To our determination as a free people to explore the world unbowed by fear; to our resolve to defeat terrorism; and to our duty to care for each other.

Transcript 18840