Anthony Albanese has spoken on the terror attack that took the lives of 88 Australians and changed the entire country.
On the 20-year anniversary of the Bali bombings terror attack, the Prime Minister has shared how the event changed the country forever.
“They made us much more conscience about the fact that we need to be vigilant against those who would cause us harm and attack our way of life,” Mr Albanese told the Today show on Wednesday.
“It was a tragic and devastating reminder that innocent people could be victims to this obscene ideology.”
At the time, his inner-western Sydney electorate was touched closely by the impact of the event that killed Abbey Borgia, Robyn Webster and members of the Dulwich Newtown Basketball Club.
“It was shocking because people in my electorate 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,” he said.
“I think all Australians, regardless of what they were doing, time stood still at that moment they heard it because it really brought home, tragically, the war on terror and this barbaric act of horrific violence.”
Mr Albanese paid tribute to the heroic actions of Australians overseas and their emergency efforts and the nurses and doctors back home who treated the victims suffering horrific burns.
“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,” he said.
Former prime minister John Howard also reflected on one of the defining events during his time in office.
Mr Howard said he had just returned to his Kirribilli residence after a morning walk when he received the phone call from one of his staff.
“One of my staff rang me, he said, ‘Bad news boss, somebody’s flattened a club and another night spot and a lot of people have been killed, we don’t know how many, a lot of Australians’,” Mr Howard told Today on Wednesday morning.
“I just developed this sickening feeling that this was going to be a terrible event and all the news that came through suggested that there had been a lot of casualties.”
He said it was a life-changing moment for the country that had previously felt safe from such atrocities.
“This idea that we were in any way immune from terrorism, that was blown away that morning,” he said.
Mr Howard paid particular respect to the global spirit of community that developed out of the tragedy.
“One of the objectives of those who did these evil deeds was to drive a wedge between Indonesia and Australia. Now, that did not happen. If anything, we became closer together,” he said.
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