Friday, September 10, 2004

Terrorism will not be exploited as a party political issue in Australia

Latham calls campaign pause
By Mike Seccombe
September 10, 2004

The Opposition Leader, Mark Latham, said the Jakarta bomb attack should serve only to harden Australia's resolve to win the war on terrorism.

He refused to address speculation that the attack might have been motivated by a desire to influence the election.

But he said the Labor Party would cease campaigning, as an expression of respect and condolence for the dead.

"These were people - some of them, it seems, security guards - there trying to defend our interests in Jakarta. It is time to pay our respects. Others were just passers-by. That is the horror, the blatant stupidity of terrorism," he said. It harmed people who had committed "no greater sin in life than getting about their ordinary day".

"As I said a few days ago in response to the tragedy in Russia, it does shake your faith in human nature, but it also doubles your resolve and strength to deal with evil, so that you can build a world that has freedom and the basic decency of respecting each other as human beings."

Asked whether he thought the attackers were trying to influence the election, he said: "Seven or eight people have just died in the worst of circumstances. I'm not going to be making any party political observations ...

"Obviously in the circumstances, we will be suspending normal campaigning activities."

He said the ALP national campaign director, Tim Gartrell, had contacted the Coalition campaign office to tell them Labor would make no policy announcements and pull advertising for the next two days.

Full Story at the Sydney Morning Herald

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