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Wednesday, 23 February 2011
Page: 1162

Mr ABBOTT (Leader of the Opposition) (2:11 PM) —Obviously I support the Prime Minister’s remarks. I welcome the measures to support New Zealand which she has announced to the House, including the donation of $5 million to the New Zealand earthquake appeal. As the Prime Minister has said, New Zealanders are family; they are not foreigners, and that is why this disaster has especially touched the hearts of every Australian. Almost all of us have family and friends across the Tasman, so our thoughts and prayers have become even more focused and intense over the past 24 hours as news of the scale of the disaster unfolds. It is especially poignant now that we know that an Australian is amongst the dead.

The coalition stands shoulder to shoulder with the government on this one. Whatever New Zealand asks Australia will give. Whatever the government does the coalition will back.

The SPEAKER —As a mark of respect and to indicate the House’s support for the comments of the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition, I ask honourable members to rise in their places.

Honourable members having stood in their places—