TERRORIST ATTACKS ON THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA TENTH ANNIVERSARY
Mr BARRY O'FARRELL
(Ku-ring-gai—Premier, and Minister for Western Sydney) [2.18 p.m.]: Sunday marks the tenth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States of America. None of us will ever forget the terrible images we saw on television and the people of different nationalities who died on that day. This Sunday is a time to remember and to pay tribute to all those Americans, Australians and others who lost their lives and their loved ones on September 11 2001. It is also a time to recognise and to celebrate the resilience of the American people, who remain steadfast in their commitment to a free, democratic society. The people of New South Wales appreciate and acknowledge the United States of America's ongoing commitment to public affairs and international diplomacy, and we affirm the commonality of purpose and mutual conviction that our two nations share.
In commemorating September 11 this year, a decade on, the people of New South Wales will have an opportunity to express support for, and solidarity with, the American people through the signing of the commemorative book. Madam Speaker, with your agreement and that of the President of the Legislative Council, the Government is making available a book for members of the public and members of both Houses to sign as an affirmation of our friendship and unity with the United States on this terrible anniversary. The book will be made available in the Fountain Court of Parliament House from today until next Friday. I am pleased to confirm that Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir, the Governor of New South Wales, agreed to be the first New South Wales citizen to sign the book.
To enable the participation of all communities across New South Wales, I am today also providing every electorate office with an electronic version of the signature pages from the book and I encourage all members to seek the support of their local communities in signing them. Those pages will be collected and subsequently collated in a book to complement the one in Parliament House, which I intend to present to the Consul General of the United States later this month. An interfaith memorial service will be held by the United States Consulate General at St Mary's Cathedral this Sunday. The doors will be open at 3.30 p.m. and all are welcome to attend.
Mr JOHN ROBERTSON
(Blacktown—Leader of the Opposition) [2.22 p.m.]: I join the Premier and speak on behalf of the Opposition as we remember the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks. I remember in particular all those who lived through that event and who will always recall it as a day that truly changed the world forever. The terrible atrocities that were committed against the United States were the start of a chain of events that shape our world today and will continue to shape our future. The September 11 attacks sparked 10 years of debate and action on global terrorism, domestic security, war and international alliances. It has changed the way we travel and the way we think.
But as we approach the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks on Sunday, it is important that we use that time to share our regret, our sympathy and our sorrow for the thousands of people who lost their lives and the thousands of families who will never be the same again. We remember the emergency services workers who ran into those two towers as most people were leaving, never to walk out again. We remember the heroes on United Airlines flight 93 who stormed the cockpit to save others, knowing that their fate was sealed. We remember the husbands, wives, sons and daughters who sent text messages of love to say goodbye for the last time.
We will also remember on Sunday those Australians who lost their lives, like Yvonne Kennedy from Westmead who had retired from the Red Cross and was on a retirement holiday, and Lesley Thomas from the Central Coast who was working in New York as an options trader. There were many more from New South Wales who died that day and Sunday is a time for all of us to share our grief, our prayers and our sorrow with those who lost so much. The horror of the events unfolded slowly as more information and details were reported. We watched with disbelief as the images were replayed over and over. While Sunday is a day to remember, it is also a day to contemplate and think about a tragedy such as this and how it bonds us all as human beings across the globe. Across political lines in this House there are some things that together we should fight for and will fight for forever, and that is our democracy and our freedom.