ANTHONY ALBANESE MP
LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY
MEMBER FOR GRAYNDLER
SENATOR PENNY WONG
LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY IN THE SENATE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
LABOR SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA
SENATOR KRISTINA KENEALLY
DEPUTY LABOR LEADER IN THE SENATE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY
SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES
BRENDAN O’CONNOR MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR DEFENCE
MEMBER FOR GORTON
The September 11 attacks on the United States live on in our collective memories with such rare and terrible clarity, it is hard to believe 20 years have already passed.
On this most sombre of anniversaries, we think above all of nearly 3000 people who lost their lives that day in New York, in Washington DC and in that field in Pennsylvania.
Among those killed were ten Australians.
Two decades may have passed, but their faces do not fade.
We also reflect on a moment in history so calamitous that all of us who saw it remember exactly where we were.
As we watched – helpless, bewildered, shocked, angered, grief-stricken – we knew instinctively that one era had just been brought to an end, and a new, more uncertain one had begun.
Yet, even as the world felt upended, we also knew in our hearts that our friend and ally would not be broken.
Amid the horror and the tragedy, we also saw great courage. Amid the loss, we saw love.
And amid acts of such coldly calculated hatred, we saw the great American spirit unbowed.
It is hard to overestimate the magnitude of the changes these events brought to the world.
The hatred that was given its full, terrible flowering on American soil 20 years ago kept unfurling until it spread across the world.
Terrorists continued the campaign of bloodshed in London, Madrid and, of course, Bali, an attack that brought it all home so devastatingly for our friend and neighbour, Indonesia, and for Australia.
This year’s anniversary is also poignant because it has coincided with the end of the conflict in Afghanistan, which began in the wake of the attacks.
Now, as the Taliban reasserts itself, we call on the Government to remain sharply focused on preventing a Taliban-run Afghanistan providing support for global terror groups.
We welcome the recent agreement to step up counterterrorism cooperation with Indonesia and strongly support heightened vigilance alongside all our neighbours.
Today, however, is a day we spend honouring those who died on September 11.
We honour those who were wounded.
We honour those who were never found.
We honour those who lost those they loved.
We honour those who put their own lives on the line, walking straight into danger because they thought they stood a chance of saving a fellow human being.
And we remind ourselves that on a day when we saw some of the worst of humanity, we also saw some of the very finest.
Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra.