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Thursday, 21 August 2003
Page: 19219


Mr CREAN (Leader of the Opposition) (2:25 PM) —On indulgence, Mr Speaker, I too would like to welcome to the House Mr Jilal Talabani. I join with the Prime Minister in expressing personally to you and to your people, on behalf of the Australian people, the condolences reflected in a motion carried by this parliament yesterday. Not only are our condolences with you but also our sincere hopes for the rebuilding of peace and a democratic country as soon as is possible. Not only are our prayers with you, but our best wishes for your future as well.

With great pleasure I too would like to welcome the Australian debating team. World champions—congratulations. Having seen what you have seen in your first couple of minutes in this place, you will know you do not have a lot to learn in here and that you have a lot to teach us—and in that regard I speak for the whole House but, more significantly on this occasion, the other side of the House! I was interested to see some comments made by the team at the time of their victory. One winner said they loved debating because they could hold an audience in the palm of their hand. We would like to learn that skill! Chris, from the victorious team, said, `It culminated in the love of arguing.' I am sure that we join you in that, because with the amount of time we spend in this place doing just that, we can clearly identify with you. It is a great achievement to be world champions. You have been up amongst the best of them but you are the best. Our congratulations go to you. I have no doubt that we will be following your careers with great interest in years to come. The very best from the House.

Honourable members—Hear, hear!