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Wednesday, 12 August 2009
Page: 53

Mr TURNBULL (Leader of the Opposition) (2:00 PM) —My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer the Prime Minister to the very distressing news about the aeroplane crash in New Guinea and the fate of the passengers on board, including Australian citizens. Would the Prime Minister please update the House on the latest news of this accident?

Mr RUDD (Prime Minister) —I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his question. It is my sad duty to inform the House that we have some very bad news from Papua New Guinea about this plane crash. At a little before 1 pm today, Australia’s High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea advised the foreign minister that he had been informed by Papua New Guinea officials on the ground at the crash site that they had concluded that there were no survivors from the crash. This is distressing news for the families of those concerned. Just before question time, the foreign minister advised me that all eight families have been contacted by Australian government officials to inform them of this tragic turn of events. There were nine Australians killed in this crash. Two of them, a father and daughter, came from the same family.

I am sure I speak on behalf of all members when I say that there is a horrible tragedy involved when families send off their loved ones for what they expect to be the experience of a lifetime only for it to turn into a tragedy such as this. I am sure I speak on behalf of all members of the House when I say that our thoughts and our prayers go to the families, friends and loved ones of those who tragically lost their lives in this disaster in Papua New Guinea.

The SPEAKER —Order! I think it would be appropriate that I ask, as a mark of respect, that members rise in their places.

Honourable members having stood in their places—