Saturday, October 13, 2007

Aussies Not Amused

Australia should do more than complain.

Diplomatic fury over bombers

AUSTRALIA will complain to Indonesia after the nation's counter-terrorism chief hosted a party attended by one of the Bali bombers.

The anti-terror chief, Brigadier-General Surya Dharma, said the party was in line with a new "gentle" approach to fighting terrorism, which aims to build a web of informants and former militants to help persuade hard-liners to reject terrorism.

The news was greeted with fury and disgust by Australian bombing victims, with one labelling Indonesia a "laughing stock".

Prime Minister John Howard yesterday said he would ensure a formal complaint was lodged with Indonesia.

"I will certainly see that there is an objection communicated," Mr Howard said.

When asked for his reaction, Mr Howard said he was "absolutely disgusted".

Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd said the news was a "terrible blow" for victims.

Although the function was held last month, it was only made public on Wednesday.

"It's inappropriate and grossly insensitive and I think for those who are grieving today, it's doubly insensitive," Mr Rudd said.

In Sydney, Coogee Dolphins president Patrick Byrne, who lost six teammates in the bombings, said he continued to be disappointed "at the ongoing injustice" and hypocrisy in Indonesia.

He said Australia had donated a million dollars to tsunami relief "and then to see them purchase a billion dollars in military munitions from Russia during APEC, the continual reductions in sentencing and the constant threat of terrorism - hypocrisy running riot".

Gold Coast man Glenn Forster, who was injured in the blasts, said the Indonesian legal system had made the country look "ridiculous".