Terrified into political action
By Alex Easton
IT WASN'T until a terrorist blew up her bus that Louise Barry really started to worry about the Iraq war.
It was 2005 and the former Lismore Herb Festival director was living happily in London when a suicide bomber got on the Number 30 double-decker bus she was catching to work.
Like many Australians, Ms Barry was against the war, but didn't give the matter that much thought.
"I was one of those people because it didn't affect me and so it was not on my agenda," she said.
Ms Barry suffered a broken neck when the suicide bomber sitting on deck beneath her set off his device in one of a series of attacks that killed 37 people.
A fortnight later, Prime Minister John Howard visited Ms Barry in hospital and she asked the obvious question: Did the terrorist attacks happen because of the Iraq war?
The PM said 'no', but Ms Barry, who now lives in Sydney, was not convinced and this week, with Sam McMillan, whose US soldier husband was killed in Iraq, launched a campaign to focus public attention on Iraq.
Ms Barry said the campaign, 'Hounding Howard', was based around asking the leaders of all parties but particularly the PM for their Iraq 'exit strategies'.
Ms Barry was baffled at the absence of Iraq on the stage of the Federal election campaign.
She said she believed most people remained opposed to the war and that many only needed reminding about its importance as an issue.
Ms Barry and Ms McMillan are collecting a petition to present to the party leaders. They had aimed for 40,000 signatures, but have already passed that and are now hoping for 60,000.
To sign the petition, go to: www.%getup.org.au