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Thursday, 12 November 2015
Page: 8440


Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaManager of Government Business in the Senate, Minister for Communications, Minister for the Arts and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Digital Government) (12:46): Mr Deputy President, I seek leave to make a short statement.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Leave has been granted for one minute.

Senator FIFIELD: The accidental bombing of the Kunduz hospital was a tragic and distressing incident. Medecins Sans Frontieres provides critical life-saving care in some of the world's most difficult and dangerous conflict zones, and all Australians have a great respect for the important work that MSF does. It is essential that health facilities remain neutral and protected spaces—particularly in conflict zones, where they are most needed.

The US government has made a number of statements of sympathy to the victims and their families and has offered compensation. The US has announced it will undertake a full investigation into this incident. Separate NATO and Afghan military investigations have also been announced.

The government supports a thorough, effective and transparent investigation into this incident. The International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission does not have jurisdiction to undertake an investigation into the incident. On that basis, the government does not support calls for it to play a role in investigating this incident. We have every confidence in the investigations already underway and hope that they will produce information to assist those who have lost loved ones and ensure that future such incidents are prevented.