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Monday, 1 December 2008
Page: 7699

Senator BOB BROWN (Leader of the Australian Greens) (3:39 PM) —by leave—I join with the condolences to Lieutenant Michael Fussell’s family, friends and colleagues, including ADF colleagues, on behalf of the Australian Greens. It does strike home when an individual Australian is killed in the service of the country what an extraordinary sacrifice has been given by Lieutenant Fussell and indeed his family. His brother is in the services as well. Lieutenant Fussell grew up on the North Coast of New South Wales and went to the Armidale School, which is extremely proud of him. But now he has been killed in active service, and it is a matter of extraordinary regret that that has happened.

The Greens are part of multipartisan support for our Defence Force personnel wherever they may serve. That said, we recognise that the danger to our personnel in Afghanistan is much greater because of the mismanagement of this conflict by the Bush administration from the outset. Had it not occurred that President Bush decided to go to Iraq, we would not have our personnel in the dangerous circumstances that are now pertaining in southern Afghanistan.

Our heart goes out to all those families who are aware of those dangers, because good Australian service personnel are in south Afghanistan. There have been two further casualties since Lieutenant Michael Fussell died. We also think of those who were injured with him and have been injured since. We wish them a speedy recovery and hope there will be no further casualties—and not just before Christmas—but, again, knowing that that hope flies in the face of reality.

Vale Lieutenant Fussell. You have served your nation, and we are all proud of that service and sorry you are no longer with us.