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Thursday, 18 June 2009
Page: 6632


Mr ANTHONY SMITH (11:39 AM) —I thank the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister. In this broad consideration in detail debate on the appropriation bills, given the member for Holt’s broad policy oversight as Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, I would like to ask him—and he is a Melbourne member, and I note that the member for Calwell and the member for Isaacs are here—to update the Main Committee on the terrible situation with respect to the suffering of the Karen people of Burma on the Thai-Burma border: if there are any developments that have occurred, what humanitarian efforts Australia is making and what the latest information is on that terrible tragedy that has been occurring for many years. I know the parliamentary secretary is very aware of this issue, and I suspect other members here are too, because there are many Karen people who have come to Australia and are living in Melbourne. They have close friends and relatives still over there in that terrible situation.