Transcript of Press Conference - Bali
SAT 13 OCTOBER 2012
Subject(s): 10th Anniversary Bali Memorial Service
PRIME MINISTER: I’m standing at what is effectively our ground zero at the site where we lost so many Australian lives. I’ve had the opportunity to lay a wreath and to pay my respects.
I’ve also had the opportunityto talk toFiona and Robin. They lost their much loved son, much loved brotherhere,David,and I’ve seen the photographs and seen the pain.
This has been a very emotional 24 hours in Bali;very emotional ceremony yesterday.
I’ve had the opportunity to speak to a large number of families who have gathered here in Bali. Heard the stories, the memories of the night, the ‘what ifs’, the ‘it could have been me if I hadn’t walked off the dance floor at that moment’, ‘it could have been me if I’d just been 5or 10 feetaway from where I was’.
The feelings of the survivors as they come back, many of them feeling a sense of reflection. Some of them still doing the ‘what ifs’ in their head about whether or not it could have been them. Some of them still overcoming the injuries that they got in this place.
It’s been a very emotional period, but a time for us to mark as a nation what wasa nation-changing event.
An event of such distress, of such magnitude. But also a time for us to reflect on our friendship with Indonesia on how it has been strengthened, on the way in which we have worked together.
And as I stood at the memorial I talked to the Governor, who was then the police chief, about what this site was like immediately after the bombing. Butalso about the partnership and cooperation that grew up between our police forces as a result of our joint hunt to get those responsible,which has happened and this terrorist network has been held to account.
People have been prosecuted and it has been dismantled because of thatpolicing effort.
So, it’s with a great sense of sadness that I stand here today but I’ve felta real sense of privilege too, to havethe opportunity to speak to so many Australians yesterday and today.
JOURNALIST: PM, did it take you back to the time you were here?
PRIME MINISTER: Look, all of it has taken me back to the time that I was here. This streetscape, walking up and down this road, buying things, having coffees, having snacks. So all of this journey has taken me back to that time and that place.
JOURNALIST: And do you feel the sense of unease here? Alot of Australians have said that they were worried the threats, the terror happening again. How have you personally felt?
PRIME MINISTER: Personally I’ve feltnotanxious about the security situation. Obviously I am very well looked after both by our own people and our Indonesian friends.
But I did speak yesterday to survivors who said that they came back on thefirst occasion they ever returned with a real sense of terror. For some of them the first time they came back was for the trials, for some the first time they came back was the first memorial, and just how gut wrenchingthat was,how actually scary they found it.
And I can understand that if you had lived through that incredible moment of terror, you would return here with a real sense of trepidation.
Fortunately we know,because of the policing work that has been done, that people can come to Bali and can experience Bali inallof its beauty withallofthe rest and relaxation that if offers for Australians.
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister what has been the most touching moment for you in the past 24 hours?
PRIME MINISTER: I thought for me the most touching moment of yesterday’s ceremony was the reading of the names. I thought, in its simplicity, it was an incredibly powerful moment to just hear name after name and then to hear family names that are repeated more than once, it had a real sense of power to it.
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister why do you think people do come back to Bali? Since the bombings, Bali is now more popular than ever. You’ve been here, what is it about Bali that draws Australians?
PRIME MINISTER: This is a beautiful place, a physically beautiful place. People come here for the sun, for the beaches for the physical beauty of it. But more than anything else, I think people come because of the warmth of the hospitality of the Balinese people.
This is a lovely society where people can feel so at home. I think that is what has attracted Australians across the generations. And why this and the subsequent Bali bombing was such a rip in our understanding of Bali and everythingthatwe had ever experienced here.
It was just so offensive to us, so jarring with the reality that we had known of travelling in Bali because of the peace of this place and the real warmth ofthe hospitality of the people.
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister can anything be done from your end withregards to the future of the Sari site? Is there anything we can do to transform that space into something a little more memorable?
PRIME MINISTER: I understand the real sense of distress and discomfort people have when they visit here. You can feel ityourself. You do want to see something more there, that marks our emotions, than what stands there now.
I think that itis really verydislocating for people when they come to the sight. It’s just notin keeping with the emotions that are welling up in them.
So we are going to keep working with the proponents of the Peace Park and with the Governor of Bali to try and secure the site so it can always be a place that you can come with those emotions inside you and have an opportunity for reflection,rather than being hustled paston astreetand seeing what is there today.
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, Mr Abbott is already in Jakarta and is meeting with the President on Monday and is going to talk to the Presidentabout stopping asylum seeker boats and perhapsturning boats back-
PRIME MINISTER: I should have made itclear atthe start I am standing at a memorial and I’m not taking questions on anything other than the Bali memorial.
JOURNALIST: Were you dissappointed then Prime Minister that the President didn’t make it to the Bali memorial?
PRIME MINISTER: I dealt with that question yesterday.We never anticipated that PresidentYudhoyono would be at yesterday’s events. But I am very grateful that the Foreign Ministerwas there, that Marty was there.
And I’m very grateful for all the help and support we had from-
PRIME MINISTER: Well I dealt with that yesterday, and I’m dealing with it in the same terms today because that’s how I feel. We were never expecting the President of Indonesia to be here but we are incredibly grateful for the way in which the Indonesian authorities had facilitated the ceremony we had yesterday and so many Australians coming together.
JOURNALIST: Is Governor Pastika on side with you Prime Minister regarding the site?
PRIME MINISTER: The Governor has been very supportive in our endeavours to have the site be a true memorial for the lives that were lost here.
Thank you very much.