The Australian Government condemns these further terrorist attacks that we’ve seen, bombings in Sri Lanka of Christians as they went to worship on Easter Sunday and bombings in hotels, all coordinated as part of a deadly terrorist attack.
Sri Lanka hasn’t seen this form of violence since 2009 when the hostilities ceased in that country and there are many Australians who are regularly travelling in Sri Lanka. Our mission in Colombo will be following through on the safety of those Australians. I would encourage any Australians who have any information about their family or their friends who may be travelling in that area or who are seeking further information, to call the 1300 555 135 number and pass that information on to them.
We’ve been in contact with our mission staff in Sri Lanka and been able to confirm their safety. But as I said, there are many Australians who do travel in this area and the information that is coming out of Sri Lanka is very confused at this point, as you’d expect it to be after such an horrific incident. But there are reports of 138 deceased and over 400 injured.
As the day passes and the night passes, as we move into the next few days I’m sure the information will become even more sickeningly real. The devastating nature of this horrific attack on innocent lives simply going about their day, going to worship on the holiest of days on the Christian calendar, is just absolutely devastating.
So I reach out particularly to our Sri Lankan community here in Australia and I know they will be feeling it very deeply. To the beautiful people of Sri Lanka, Australia sends its heartfelt sympathies and our prayers and our support - and our offer to do whatever we can to support you in this terrible time of need. The information at this stage is just too inconclusive to provide further details. But as further details are received, obviously we’ll be looking at them carefully. I’m being kept up to date regularly on events, particularly as they may apply to Australians who may be in the area. I’ve ensured that the Leader of the Opposition has been fully briefed also this evening, we’ll be keeping them advised of developments as they proceed.
But at this time, at this time as Easter Sunday draws to a conclusion here in Australia, our heart goes out to those Christians and all of those other innocents who have been slaughtered today in this horrific terrorist attack. We still don’t know what or who was responsible for this or what their motivation was, but we do know that innocent lives have been stolen once again. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to all of those who are bereaved tonight, us included as we just share their sorrow.