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Australia's youngest war widow owed an apology.



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Graham Edwards MP Federal Member for Cowan Parliamentary Secretary to the Shadow Minister for Defence

MEDIA RELEASE

Media Contact: Graham Edwards 0418 952 162

AUSTRALIA’S YOUNGEST WAR WIDOW OWED AN APOLOGY

The Prime Minister should apologise to Australia’s youngest war widow for the government’s shabby treatment in not inviting her and her daughter to attend the Australian War Memorial when President Bush dedicated the laying of a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, to her husband, Andrew Russell.

Sgt Russell was killed when the vehicle he was travelling in detonated a mine in Afghanistan whilst on a long range patrol.

Graham Edwards, Member for Cowan, has written to the Prime Minister calling on the government to offer her an apology.

Mr Edwards said the treatment offered to Mrs Russell differed greatly to that offered the Bali victims who on two occasions have been bought to Canberra and offered great support, compassion and sympathy. And rightly so said Mr Edwards.

“But why was Mrs Russell treated so differently and given the cold shoulder at this momentous occasion when both the PM and President Bush put such a focus on the deeds and sacrifice of our fighting forces?” he asks.

“I think all Australians would be affronted if Mrs Russell was left off the guest list simply because she has been critical of the Prime Minister, his government and a couple of his ministers over the plight of war widows” said Mr Edwards

“If any one deserved an invitation to the War Memorial or the BBQ it was this brave young war widow who has stood up in support of others who may be caught in her circumstances in the future” he said.

The PM should without hesitation or reservation offer her an apology.