Bali Bombings Speech

The Bali bombings were Australia’s 9/11. On 12 October 2002, Australians were targeted by Islamic extremists in the most populous Muslim country in the world - Indonesia. How Australia responded to this global terrorist attack had the potential to damage its relationship with its largest Asian neighbour - a relationship already soured by Australia’s intervention in the conflict in East Timor.

Unlike the United States, Australia did not have the capacity to employ a ‘war on terror’ approach against Indonesia. Instead, the Australian and Indonesian governments used the full force of both their legal systems and their police enforcement agencies to tackle the terrorist threat on their doorstep. When compared with the ‘war on terror’ approach that the United States pursued against Al Qaeda, the methods used by Australia and Indonesia, which were consistent with the rule of law, were successful.

The perpetrators of the Bali bombings were caught, tried and sentenced. In the US however, after many painful and costly years of the ‘war of terror, Osama bin Laden remains at large and Al Qaeda is still a threat to global security. If a rule of law approach had been followed by the US, would this result have been different ?

The Bali bombings occurred one year after the ‘September 11’terrorist attacks in the United States. 9/11 has been seen as a wake-up call to the Western world to the demands of Islamic extremists and their ability to cause widespread fear. The terrorists who captured the planes and flew them into the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon belonged to Al Qaeda.

Their goal was to strike at the heart of the world’s most powerful nation. Al Qaeda’s leader, Osama bin Laden, saw US involvement in the Middle East - especially support for Israel - as an affront to Muslim interests, law and way of life. Bin Laden believed that Al Qaeda would be victorious in battle against the world’s last remaining superpower, the United States, just as it had been when...