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Kevin Rudd must do more to find Britt.



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Wed, 8th October 2008 KEVIN RUDD MUST DO MORE TO FIND BRITT

Senator the Hon Helen Coonan Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate

Opposition Foreign Affairs Minister Helen Coonan today called on the Australian Government to step up its efforts to locate missing Australian girl Britt Lapthorne who was last seen in Dubrovnik on 18 September.

“Reports that persons who may have material information to give to police have left Croatia but have been located and interviewed by the media before official statements have been taken, are deeply concerning,” Senator Coonan said.

“It is crucial that these witnesses be officially interviewed as a priority.

“A team of AFP officers would be better placed to ensure that all relevant witnesses, wherever they may be, are contacted and statements taken as a matter of urgency.”

At the moment only one AFP officer has been assigned to liaise on the case. More AFP officers would boost capacity for this investigation.

“The disappearance of their daughter Britt is a living nightmare for the Lapthorne family, who have received only limited information about the progress of police enquiries.

“Kevin Rudd promised the Lapthorne’s publicly that he would be ‘leaving no stone unturned’ in the search for this Australian girl on the trip of her dreams,” Senator Coonan said.

The Lapthorne’s and all Australians rightly expect that the Prime Minister will do everything he can to give Britt and her family the best chance of her being found.

There are clearly stones left unturned and this is an opportunity for Kevin Rudd to take action to match his words.

“The family needs reassurance that the investigation is fully resourced with the assistance of AFP expertise, devoted to finding their daughter,” Senator Coonan said.

“They deserve nothing less.”