backbencher Lou Lieberman, in New York
for a United Nations conference, said
Australian officials were preparing to
contact relatives of those believed
killed in the World Trade Centre.
Staff from Australia's diplomatic
mission in New York were gathering names
of nationals thought to be in the centre
when it was hit by two hijacked
"We will have to pull together
tomorrow in Australia, because a lot of
people are going to find out loved ones
have died," he said.
"It's going to be a terrible
thing, having to contact those families
and tell them what's happened.
"It just numbs the mind at
what's gone on."
Many Australian banking and insurance
brokers worked in the trade centre.
Trade officials have already
determined that some escaped the
disaster, but many are still unaccounted
Mr Lieberman was in a flat about 3km
to the north of the trade centre when it
was hit by the first plane.
He and members of the Australian
delegation to the conference have been
outside, looking at the carnage.
Even late into the US night, there is
still dirt and smoke filling the air, he
Mr Lieberman said Americans had acted
calmly and without panic, despite the
"This is a very proud nation and
the people themselves, there's no sense
of panic but there is definitely a
feeling of shock," he said.
"There is a sense of 'we're not
going to yield' in the face of
The delegation is staying near a
Mr Lieberman said many children had
become distressed after seeing the
explosions at the trade centre.
"They came out on the footpath,
all taken out of the school, and they
were in various degrees of
distress," he said.
Mr Lieberman said it was vital for
Australia to back US efforts to catch
and punish those responsible for the