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Mr Howard (Prime Minister), by leave, moved—That this House:

(1) extends its sympathies to those Australians who suffered personal losses during the Christmas 2001 bushfires that raged across New South Wales;

(2) acknowledges the tireless commitment of the thousands of individuals from rural and metropolitan fire brigades, emergency and rescue services, ambulance services, the defence force, police, welfare groups, government agencies, councils and businesses from across the country who were involved in fighting these fires;

(3) expresses its enduring gratitude and admiration to these Australians, many of whom were volunteers, for their efforts and sacrifices and in particular acknowledges the bravery of those who risked their lives in fighting the fires; and

(4) recognises that the way that the community heroically pulled together in a time of crisis truly demonstrates the strength of the Australian spirit.

Debate ensued.

Debate adjourned (Mr Abbott—Leader of the House), and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for the next sitting.