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Wednesday, 1 May 1996
Page: 150

Mr BEAZLEY (Leader of the Opposition)(3.02 p.m.) —by leave—I support the remarks of the Prime Minister (Mr Howard), and in particular his remarks that went to expressions of appreciation for the extraordinarily good work that was done by the emergency services, by the police, by the medical services and that continues to be done by them in handling what is an extraordinary and terrible situation.

Both services we attended were most moving—the first one was not really a service but there was a wreath laying associated with it. There is no doubt at all that there is a tremendously and terribly shocked community in Tasmania. I think it is up to all of us to do what we can—we all have travel rights as parliamentarians—to associate ourselves directly with what has happened to our fellow citizens in Tasmania, to give them encouragement and to see the fortitude with which they are bearing their trial. They are tremendously conscious of anything that anyone else elsewhere in Australia does to identify with their period of great difficulty.

Of course, it is not just people in Australia who have been directly affected; also at the gathering were the people most directly affected, that is, families who had lost members or whose members had experienced injuries. That was tremendously moving as well.

The Prime Minister made some remarks about propositions to be put to the police ministers. He said that they were minimum propositions. The two that he announced we would absolutely endorse and we encourage him. All strength to his right arm as he uses it in whatever way he needs to in dealing with the states on this matter. He also announced a contribution to the appeal. We completely endorse that as well. He indicated that there may be other things that he wants to raise with the police ministers. If those matters could be in some way or another presented here in the House before he meets with them, that would be a good thing. If it is not possible to do that because he wants to take these matters more discreetly to those ministers, I completely understand that, but this is a matter where he might choose to find himself more broadly supported.

Mr Howard —Thank you.