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Tuesday, 2 February 2010
Page: 4

Senator JOHNSTON (12:43 PM) —The reasons and justification for our mission in Afghanistan need no explanation or qualification. The mission and task are in a just and proper cause. In our democracy in Australia, the opposition can achieve very little in terms of practical outcomes, but one thing we can do is help and participate actively in defining what will or will not become national political issues. From an opposition perspective, our continued role in Afghanistan will not, so far as we are concerned, be or become a national political issue. The Minister for Defence has very properly and appropriately informed the Senate of the progress of our mission in Afghanistan on a regular basis. I thank him and commend him for that. I also thank, in this very brief response to Senator Bob Brown’s motion, the very fine men and women of our Australian Defence Force and their continued commitment to our mission. I commend them for the exceptional work that they are doing. It is simply outstanding. We are very proud of them. Accordingly, we see no reason to debate this issue at this time.