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Tuesday, 14 June 2011
Page: 5833


Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:05): I rise to strongly support the words of the Prime Minister, which she has put with great eloquence. Yes, Australia has lost another fine soldier: Sapper Rowan Robinson, the 27th Australian soldier to be killed in action in Afghanistan. Just as the Prime Minister's thoughts go to his family and his comrades, so on this side of the House our thoughts and prayers go to his family and his comrades at this sad time. Inevitably, as casualties continue, there will be some second thoughts about Australia's involvement in this campaign.

Our soldiers should not be there a moment longer than is necessary; but, while there is vital work that they can do and that only they can do, that mission must be sustained. In fairness to our soldiers and to their families we must count the cost, but we must also count the cost of abandoning the mission, and at the present time abandoning the mission would mean the return of terrorist bases into Afghanistan, a most brutal persecution of the Afghan people and most likely a serious destabilisation of Pakistan.

So we honour all the fallen, as we must in this parliament, which has sent them on the mission. By securing our objectives we best ensure that these are not pointless deaths and we best ensure that the memory of Sapper Robinson is properly honoured.