Overnight, Tony Abbott promised to allocate $75k lump sum compensation payments to victims of overseas terrorist acts. The money is earmarked for people with ongoing physical injuries or mental trauma, and the dead’s next of kin.
On face value, it is a thoughtful measure. You might also argue that it’s a clever jump on any similar plans the government may or may be set to announce as the 10th anniversary of the first Bali bombing looms.
Mr Abbott plans to backdate the compensation to cover the attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York in 2001, the 2002 and 2005 Bali bombings, London in 2005 and Jakarta in 2004 and 2009. In total, around 300 people will be eligible. Every decent Australian would agree this will be money well spent.
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Dr Gill Hicks is the Australian-born founder of London-based not-for-profit M.A.D for Peace, and a motivational speaker, author, curator, and trustee for several cultural organisations. She began her career as a speaker in the wake of the 2005 London bombings: Hicks was the last living victim rescued. Both her legs were amputated below the knee, and her injuries were so severe that she was initially not expected to live. She was admitted to St Thomas’ Hospital without an identity - she was labelled only as ‘One Unknown’.
Q. What do you think is the biggest threat to peace within Australia?
A. The greatest threat to peace within any country, in my opinion, is division, identity, fear and ignorance.
As we witnessed with the London bombings of 2005, those responsible were not from other lands, the threat was not external – but internal – the four bombers were raised and schooled within the UK – they were British citizens.
Peace, I believe, does need to be defined before we can discuss firstly what it is, and how we achieve it. The core of the work within my not-for-profit organisation, M.A.D. for Peace, focuses on the responsibility of the individual to create an environment in which he/she has choice in every word and action – ensuring that those words and actions are positive and/or constructive. We believe that peace is within – and that peace starts with you.
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