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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 9 Hansard (19 August) . . Page.. 3972..

MR HARGREAVES (5.51): I would just like to say that this has been a particularly difficult time. I thank members for giving serious consideration to this matter, which was not about a very pleasant thing. I just think that now is the time to get it over with.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


Motion (by Mr Wood ) proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Iraqi-Australian community

MRS CROSS (5.52): A group of 43 Iraqi-Australians has a bone to pick with the 43 retired officials who criticised the government for a lack of honesty, and they have written a letter which was published in the Australian of 16 August 2004 to express their opinion. It says:

We, the undersigned, are Iraqi-Australian citizens very grateful for the freedom we enjoy in this country-our new homeland.

We respect the rights of the 43 former senior figures to freely express their views in their statement to the Australian people last Monday. However, many of us have certain doubts about the timing of their statement since it appears to be politically motivated as there is an election to be held very soon.

Surely it is dangerous for former senior members of the armed forces to appear to become politicised.

Did these 43 people ever consider contacting members of the Iraqi-Australian community in order to assess their opinion?

We consider it would have been courteous and sensible to have done so.

We are in touch with members of our families in Iraq and some of us have visited Iraq recently so we are well aware of the true facts of the situation there today.

Abdul Jabbar Nassir, an Iraqi-Australian who is editor-in-chief of a leading Iraqi newspaper, called Baghdad, is adamant: "Any withdrawal of multinational forces would be a disaster at this point; any such action would give the terrorists and insurgent forces a great victory."

Yes, there could be tragic events such as the current turmoil in the south, but we are confident that eventually there will be democracy in Iraq.

We are extremely grateful to the Australian military forces for helping to liberate our former beloved country from the indescribable suffering imposed by the brutal Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein.

The Australians are doing a splendid job over there and we hope the statement by the first group 43 does not undermine their morale. We are particularly grateful to

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