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Monday, 1 December 2008
Page: 7699

Senator MINCHIN (3:37 PM) —by leave—I rise on behalf of the coalition to strongly support the motion moved by Senator Evans in relation to the tragic death of Lieutenant Michael Fussell. The coalition, like the government, is deeply saddened by Lieutenant Fussell’s death last week as the result of the detonation of an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. Lieutenant Fussell was killed serving his nation. His courage and dedication are admired and respected, and his sacrifice will not be forgotten.

We are again reminded of the extreme danger which Australian personnel face every day in Afghanistan, and the task at hand must never be underestimated. In a week where terrorist attacks also killed hundreds of people in India, it is a further reminder of the importance of the struggle in Afghanistan and the threat terrorists pose to our freedoms and our way of life. Indeed, Lieutenant Fussell’s tragic death was somewhat overshadowed by the outrageous and unacceptable terrorist attack in Mumbai.

We do not underestimate the importance of our nation’s role in Afghanistan, nor do we underestimate the sacrifice made by our service personnel, willingly and voluntarily, and their families. So it is with profound regret and sadness that we record our sorrow at the death of Lieutenant Fussell. But, as Senator Evans indicated, the continued bipartisan commitment to our just cause in Afghanistan means that his death must not and will not be in vain. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and indeed all the families of personnel serving in Afghanistan at this very difficult time.