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Thursday, 21 August 2003
Page: 19219

Mr HOWARD (Prime Minister) (2:23 PM) —Mr Speaker, I request your indulgence on two matters. Firstly, I would like to take the opportunity on behalf of the Australian government to welcome our distinguished visitor from Iraq. In particular, I convey to him and to all the citizens of his country our profound condolences on the outrage that claimed the lives of not only some distinguished servants of the United Nations but also people of Iraq—and not only in that outrage but in many others. The thoughts of all Australians are very much with the Iraqi people and we wish them the full opportunities of freedom within the world, the opportunity at the earliest possible occasion to govern themselves and the right to live in peace and harmony with their neighbours.

On another note, and a very important note, I would like to acknowledge the presence in the gallery of the victorious Australian school debating team which has just won the world championships.

Honourable members—Hear, hear!

Mr HOWARD —I might say, Mr Speaker, that they defeated Singapore, affirming the proposition `that governments should remain tough on drugs'. The team comprises Chris Croke of New South Wales, who is the captain; Sasha Bodero-Smith of New South Wales; Eleanor Bensley of Western Australia; Frances Bevan of Tasmania; and Julia Featherston of the Australian Capital Territory. They are accompanied by many of their proud and supportive parents. They are great young ambassadors for our country. Debating is an important life skill and I wish all of them well in their future careers.