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Tuesday, 31 May 2011
Page: 5266

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:06): Mr Speaker, on indulgence, I rise to support the remarks of the Prime Minister. On behalf of the coalition, I offer condolences to the families of the soldiers who have been killed and I express the coalition's continuing support for the mission in which those soldiers were engaged. As the Prime Minister said, there will be a time to consider the circumstances under which these deaths have taken place and to draw the appropriate conclusions. But I think there are two observations that are worth making at this point in time. First, there is no such thing as casualty-free combat. Regrettably, as long as our soldiers are in Afghanistan there will be sad moments for our country and, obviously, sad moments for this parliament. The second point to make is that serious countries do not slip out from under their responsibilities no matter how hard those responsibilities become. Our soldiers should not stay in Afghanistan a moment longer than is absolutely necessary but it is necessary that they stay while there is a vital task that only they can perform.

The SPEAKER: Order! As a mark of respect I invite honourable members to rise in their places.

Honourable members having stood in their places—

The SPEAKER: I thank the House.