Television Interview - Sunrise

12 Oct 2022
Prime Minister
Anniversary of Bali Bombings; Australian Support for Ukraine; Channel Seven Perth Telethon

NATALIE BARR, HOST: Joining me now is the Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese. Tell us what message you have for the family and friends who lost family members on that dreadful day?

ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER: Well, it is 20 years since the shock waves from Bali hit our shores and our memory of what occurred and our honouring of the victims of terrorism hasn't dimmed in that 20 years and today is an opportunity to mourn those 88 Australians who lost their lives. It's also one to recommit to the fight against terror which had such an impact on that dreadful day 20 years ago.

BARR: When I was talking to my teenage son about this last night and explaining the impact on this country and the suffering it caused, his question was "could this happen again?” What do we tell our children today, Prime Minister?

PRIME MINISTER: We live in an uncertain world and tragically whereby some people, whether due to a distorted ideology or just a lack of humanity, are prepared to commit atrocities. And we know that 2002 occurred just a year after that dreadful day of the attack on New York that woke up the world to the act of terror from these extremists. But since then as well there are other threats to us. We just need to be vigilant, we need to go about our way of life. One of the things, I think, to celebrate today is the fact that this was an attack on our humanity, it was an attack on the Australian way of life, on freedom, on democracy – and we’re still here. People behind me enjoying the morning here in Coogee, we have been determined to, whilst being vigilant about security, continue to enjoy our way of life and that is a victory. We weren't cowed by this act of terror. Our resilience and national unity was strengthened by it and today there will be commemorations held right around Australia. In my own electorate the Dulwich-Newtown basketball club had victims including Debbie and Abbey Borgia, a mum and her young daughter, the youngest Australian who was murdered on that day. Today, of course, the Coogee Dolphins, it had real impact on them and their families will be here to honour their family members today. Australians are resilient and we weren't cowed by this cowardly action and I think that that is something of a positive to come out of this terrible, terrible event which, of course, will be a really tough day for those who lost friends and family members 20 years ago.

BARR: There were just so many, weren’t there? And that's the thing that strikes us when we,

PRIME MINISTER: 88 Australians.

BARR: Exactly, when you read all the stories today it really strikes you again. Do you remember where you were when you heard the news?

PRIME MINISTER: I do. It was shocking because people in my electorate, the Borgias, the Websters, the Dulwich-Newtown Basketball Club were there in the Sari Club on that fateful night and I remember just a scramble for people who had their friends and relatives in Bali were really concerned about them. I was, of course, a Member of Parliament, a member of the opposition then, and I think all Australians, regardless of what they were doing, time stood still at that moment that they heard it. Because it really brought home, tragically, the war on terror and the act of this barbaric act of horrific violence and the fact that it occurred in Bali. I like many people have been to Bali on a couple of holidays with a backpack, with friends and it is a place of joy, it's a place where people go, particularly so many sporting teams who are there in the end of season trips. It's a place where Australians gather with each other but also gather with people from all around the world. Of course, there were 202 victims of terror that night including, of course, Balinese and Indonesians themselves and people from all around the world. This had an impact everywhere but it didn't have the impact that the terrorists wanted because what it did was really strengthen the resolve to make sure we won't defeated by this act of terror.

BARR: That's certainly the message today. Just on a couple of other points before we let you go. You spoke with the Ukrainian President yesterday who is urging us to increase our security assistance to Ukraine to send troops to train the Ukrainian troops. Are you considering that?

PRIME MINISTER: We certainly are. I had the honour of speaking to President Zelenskyy again last night. I conveyed to him the condolences of the Australian  people for the innocent victims who have been murdered by Russian aggression, targeting civilian locations including in Kyiv, just about a kilometre from where I was just a couple of months ago. And what I did was have a discussion with him about Ukraine’s needs. I will take that through our processes. We of course, are the largest non-NATO contributor to give support to Ukraine and I conveyed to him, as well, our thanks for his inspirational leadership and the courage of the Ukrainian people. This is a fight not just about Ukraine’s sovereignty, this is a fight about the international rule of law, about whether sovereign borders will be respected and that is why the world has united in their support for Ukraine against this Russian aggression, which is against the international rule of law and which we see the targeting of civilians in such an appalling way.

BARR: Now, onto the final but very important thing, this week you made a promise to some Telethon kids to help them fundraise during the event in WA. I don't know whether you are ready for this – it is the largest charity fundraiser per capita in the world. You've ruled out taking your shirt off which they do a lot in the west over this weekend. What other party tricks can you offer, Prime Minister?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, I did say people might pay more money for me to keep my shirt on. I'm happy to provide support. I met young Ari and Emily, just delightful kids and what a fantastic charity event this is. I look forward to participating in it, taking calls and I just encourage people to dig deep. These kids really are an inspiration. They were so happy and full of joy and we need to do whatever we can to support them and to support their families. But good on Channel 7 and all those associated with the Telethon. This a fantastic event for the community.

HOST: Well, 62 million dollars last year, it is 26 hours of live TV so strap yourself in Prime Minister, we will see you there.

PRIME MINISTER: I’ll see you there.