PAKISTAN TERRORIST ATTACK
Mr NATHAN REES
(Toongabbie—Premier, and Minister for the Arts) [2.18 p.m.]: I want to place on record the Government's deep sense of sadness and dismay at yesterday's terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore. I know all honourable members will join me in condemning the perpetrators of this cowardly crime. Whatever insane motivation lay behind it, it was more than an attack on individual players, on a particular team, or on cricket itself. When our grandfathers, and some of our own generation, use the phrase: "It's just not cricket", it is usually because someone is cheating, acting inappropriately or with insufficient kindliness in a situation fraught with difficulty.
What happened yesterday in Lahore went well beyond that pleasant cliché. It was not cricket, it was not appropriate, it was not civilised—it was terrorism. It was not within the rules of a just war or anything like a proportionate response to provocation. It was not forgivable in any political context, in even the post 9/11 world. Like all acts of terrorism, it was an assault on the values of a peaceful world order, on the foundations of civilised society, and as such it will surely fail. As some members would be aware, eight Pakistani citizens died yesterday, some Australians were injured and, of course, the confidence of a nation was smashed. Among those who narrowly escaped injury was Trevor Bayliss, the coach of the Sri Lankan players. Mr Bayliss hails from Penrith. To his wife, Julie, and their family, I convey our goodwill and the thoughts especially of the people of western Sydney.
I believe the Australian captain, Ricky Ponting, now touring in South Africa, spoke for all Australians, and the entire cricketing world, when he condemned the attack and expressed sympathy for the victims. On behalf of the Government I extend our sympathy to the families of all victims, to the grieving people of Pakistan, and to the relatives of the injured Australians. This is the least we can do in support of our allies and friends and fellow Commonwealth members. This is the least we can say on behalf of cricket, whose excellence, charm and thrill will survive even this: its darkest hour.
Mr BARRY O'FARRELL
(Ku-ring-gai—Leader of the Opposition) [2.20 p.m.]: I join with the Premier in expressing our condolences, our shock and our horror at what since the Munich Olympics has been the first direct attack on international sports people. In 1972 we saw things that should never have been associated with the Olympic movement and yesterday we saw things that should never be associated with a game of sport. Australia has a close association with Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka, which is helped in part by the bonds of that magnificent game of cricket. One of the most popular teams to tour this country is the Sri Lankan cricket team. Not only were cricketers targeted but also—if the reports are to be believed—the intention was to stop the bus and walk through the bus cold-bloodedly assassinating each of the cricketers.
When you realise the likes of Muralitharan were on board, you know the impact that would have had on those countries around the world where cricket, as in this country, is strongly supported. The five Sri Lankan cricketers injured, largely by shrapnel, included the captain, the vice captain, and one who in the second test of the series scored his second double ton in a row. They are extraordinary young men aged between 25 and 31, the cream of their country. They are the cream of all that we hold as good in a sport that is often remarked to be the gentlemen's game. As the Premier said, it is not cricket. We share our horror and abomination. We condemn those who perpetrate it. As Gandhi said, "Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary."