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Thursday, 27 March 2014
Page: 3476

Mr LAUNDY (Reid) (11:56): It is with a heavy heart that I rise to add my voice to the chorus of many, kicking off with the Prime Minister, in this condolence motion for all those on board MH370. Further to the comments of the Prime Minister and my colleagues, I pass on my thoughts and prayers to the families of all involved. I note that the passengers came from a range of nations—China, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, France, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Ukraine, the Netherlands, Russia, Taiwan and Iran—but I focus my comments on those directly affected in our homeland. The Australian passengers were Bob and Catherine Lawton; Rodney and Mary Burrows; Li Yuan and Gu Naijun, who the member for Banks told us earlier were residents of his electorate; and a New Zealand resident, Paul Weeks—we just heard a touching story from the member for Cowan about his wife and children, and we also heard from the member for Pearce that they were residents of his electorate.

My family has a sad history in this space. I lost my grandfather in an aircraft tragedy in 1969. I was not born at that stage; I was born in 1971. As my thoughts and prayers go to the families of all 227 passengers and 12 crew, I know that today, some 44 years after my father lost his father in an aircraft accident, he cannot have a conversation about these things without choking. When I stand here and say that I wish them well and they are in my thoughts and prayers, I understand the harsh reality that this will be something they carry with them for the rest of their lives. I hope that through the work of our Air Force and our Navy crews that are steaming to this location as we speak we can recover not only the wreckage but, most importantly, the black box flight recorder so that at least we can in some way do two things—learn what it was that caused this tragedy and learn for the future so that other aircraft may not suffer the same fate. If we can do that, these people's lives will not have been lost in vain.

As I say, my thoughts and prayers go out to all of those affected. Like the member for Banks, I have a large Chinese community in my electorate. We have been in Canberra for the last couple of weeks, but it would not surprise me if I headed back to my electorate tonight and heard over the next week that I have people in my community who have been adversely impacted. To all involved, my thoughts and prayers are with you now and always, and may the souls of those that are departed rest in eternal peace.