Address to 10th anniversary of Jakarta Embassy bombing

  • Speech, E&OE, (check against delivery)

Good morning and thank you all for being here. We gather together today to mark the tenth anniversary of the terrorist bomb explosion outside the Australian Embassy in Jakarta on this day in 2004.

We acknowledge those whose lives have been touched by this awful event - honouring those we lost, remembering those who still live with the trauma and the grief.

Today we also recognise the extraordinary efforts following the bombing; friends and colleagues working selflessly to assist victims, to care for those in hospitals, to support family members and the broader community over the long-term recovery phase.

While mourning their loss, we owe a debt of gratitude to the ten Indonesian nationals, who were employees and supporters of our work in Jakarta, and those who were killed protecting our Embassy. We think of those who are still coping with terrible injuries and the loss of their loved ones.

This was the first deadly attack on an Australian diplomatic mission. Sadly, we cannot assume it will be the last. What has struck me in reflecting on the bombing of our embassy in Jakarta, is how it sits, tragically, in a line of terrorist attacks over recent years: September 11, the Bali bombings, the Marriott Hotel bombings, the London Underground, the shopping centre in Nairobi and now, we are witnessing the barbaric actions of the murderous ISIL and its ilk in Syria and Iraq.

These attacks each have their own perpetrators, their own specific contexts, their own grim outcomes. But they are all awful, pointless attacks which fail to achieve the objectives of their perpetrators.

Terrorist attacks strike innocents far more than they reach any combatants in the imagined conflicts in which their perpetrators think they are fighting. In this case, the main victims of the bombing were innocent Indonesians going about their daily lives.

If the aim of the Jakarta embassy bombers was to fracture the relationship between Australia and Indonesia, they failed. If anything, they have helped draw our two countries even closer together and strengthened our resolve to work together against terrorism, and to address the risks of violent extremism in our region and beyond.

While deeply damaging for the individuals – these attacks will not sway us from our broader purpose - to advance the cause of peace and prosperity, to give our citizens every opportunity to live full, free, happy lives, free from fear and intimidation.

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