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Monday, 21 February 2011
Page: 625

Mr ABBOTT (Leader of the Opposition) (2:05 PM) —I rise to support the Prime Minister and to echo her eloquent words. Yes, Australia mourns another fine soldier, Sapper Jamie Larcombe, killed in action in Afghanistan. We grieve for him and our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and his family at this sad time. We also grieve for the Afghan interpreter who was killed by his side.

Above all though, we wish to encourage and support members of the Australian armed forces who are doing their country’s work in a very dangerous place. We owe it to our soldiers to ensure that their objectives are clear, achievable and important, and they most certainly are in this case. They are building a civil society in Oruzgan Province, training the Afghan army and effectively degrading the capacity of the enemy. It is most certainly in Australia’s national interests to build a safer and a freer world; it is one of the universal aspirations of mankind. Mr Speaker, there is no such thing as a casualty free combat commitment. Soldiers understand that and we should too. So we salute Sapper Larcombe and wish his comrades a successful campaign and a safe return.