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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 1 Hansard (19 February) . . Page.. 237 ..

MR PRATT (continuing):

I would say to those members here today who let their anti-American and anti-Howard biases and hatreds blur their judgements: see if you might be able to analyse the facts with an emotional detachment for a change. See if you might find it in your hearts to condemn Saddam and international terrorist movements for at least a fraction of the time you spend condemning and showing disrespect for your prime minister and our valued allies. But most importantly, see if you can peer into the faces of my Iraqi friends, their families and their people back home, and explain why you appease this great dictator and why you quite gaily condemn their families to perhaps years of more murdering and suffering.

Mr Speaker, as well as being flawed in fact, this motion is a mere distraction. I would have better served my ACT community here today debating Ms Tucker on bushland management and bushfire prevention.

I ask the naive to look into the faces of Iraqis. Listen to the appeal put by Rania Kashi, 17 of whose relatives are victims of Hussein; let us see what she has to say. Rania confronted the appeasers and said:

Are you willing to allow [Hussein] to kill another million Iraqis?

She went on to say:

The Iraqi people have been protesting for years against the war-the war that Saddam has waged against them. Where have you been? Why is it now that you deem it appropriate to voice your disillusions with America's policy in Iraq when it is actually right now that the Iraqi people are being given real hope, however slight and precarious.

Mr Speaker, this motion hastens divisiveness; it plays into Saddam's hands and it damages the national interest. On a very personal note, this motion does a great and dangerous disservice to the Iraqi people, who will continue to die while ever we weakly and without courage bumble on pursuing so-called "containment of the problem". While proponents of this naive and ill-informed motion play their political games and allow their dislike of America to blur their judgment, Iraqis continue to die in their thousands. Let that be on the conscience of the appeasers.

MR WOOD (Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services, Minister for the Arts and Heritage and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (9.20): Mr Speaker, I move the following amendment:

Omit "paragraph (2)".

The government supports the sentiment and the concern expressed in the motion moved today by Ms Tucker in relation to the developing situation in Iraq and the proposed package of measures in the resolution designed to bring peace to the Middle East. We have proposed the deletion of paragraph (2) because it contains matters well beyond the province of this Assembly and some matters we may not agree with.

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