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tv   Australian Leaders on Wildfires  CSPAN  February 24, 2020 2:59pm-3:43pm EST

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once they start walking -- up next, australian prime minister scott morrison discussing the recent wildfires which have killed at least 33 people and an estimated 1 billion native animals. he also brought forth a motion in the australia house of representatives which honors the wildfire victims and first responders while also pledging parliament support to assist affected areas. this is about 45 minutes. >> the leader of the house. >> thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i move that so much of standing orders be suspended as would prevent the following from occurring in relation to proceedings of the house today. one, the prime minister to move a motion of condolence in
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relation to the recent bush fires and debate on the motion to have precedence over all other business. the debate continue until adjourned or resolved if necessary of the usual time of the house. three, the federation chamber not to meet. four, the house to adjourn on the motion of a minister without debate. and five, any variation to this arrangement to be made only by a motion moved by minister. >> question is that the motion moved by the leader of the house be agreed to. all those of that opinion say aye. to the contrary, no. the ayes have it and i call the prime minister. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i move that the house, one, acknowledges the devastation across our nation occasioned by the bush fire season including the loss of 33 lives, the destruction of over 3,000 homes, the unimaginable loss of so much wildlife and the devastating impact on regional economies across australia.
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two, extends its deepest sympathies to families who have lost loved ones. and to those who have suffered injuries or loss. on record, its gratitude for the service of david morrisi, jeffrey keaton, samuel mcpole, big slade, matt cavana, ian mcbeth, paul hudson, and rick demorgan jr. firefighters who lost their lives during the fires and extends its deepest condolences to their families. four, recognizes the contributions of thousands of volunteers and career firefighters and the dedication of emergency services personnel across australia. five, honors the contribution of more than 6,500 australian defense force personnel including 3,000 adf reservists
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and the work of emergency management australia throughout the summer. six recognizes the generosity of individuals, families, schools, churches, and religious groups. service clubs and businesses from across australia and elsewhere in the world during the evacuations and following the fires. seven, expresses its gratitude to australia's friends, allies, and neighbors who have provided or offered support. eight, recognizes the unceasing efforts and close cooperation between state and local governments, demonstrating the strength of our federation. nine, commit itself to learning any lessons from this fire season. and ten, pledges the full support of the australian parliament to assist affected areas to recover and to rebuild. mr. speaker, we welcome the families of those who are lost
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and who were here with us today. in past times when australia has been tested by fire, we have given the fires a name based on the name of the day or locality. black thursday in 51. black friday in 9 and 39. ash wednesday in 1983. the bush fires of 2003. black saturday in 2009. just saying these words brings back such chilling memories. this year we have faced and are still facing a terrible season of fire. national in scale. fires that reached our highest mountain range and our longest beaches. fires that consumed forests, grasslands, and farms, suburbs
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and villages. fires that jumped rivers and highways. fires where days became night. and the night sky turned red. fires that raged into the heavens as clouds of fire. with it all, a merciless smoke that lingered across our cities. fires that still burn. and the smoke from burned bush land that left an oppressive tightening in our chest told us that all was not right. this is the black summer of 2019-2020 that has proven our national character and our resolve. a national trauma best described by indigenous leaders who love our land so much as a grief for the victims, our wildlife and
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broken heart for the scouring of our land. these fires are yet to end and danger is still before us in many, many places. but today, we gather to mourn, honor, reflect, and begin to learn from the black summer that continues. and to give thanks for the selflessness, the courage, and the sacrifice and generosity that met these fires time and again and continue to. many of the stories of our black summer we will never know. some will become known. and others have already been taken to our hearts as australians. across australia, we witnessed unparalleled firefighting and relief efforts. thousands upon thousands have stood together to fight fires and protect communities. while our hearts are heavy for the loss of 33 people and the destruction of over 3,000 homes,
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we know our emergency services and our adf personnel, our firefighters, have undertaken a mighty effort to save so many more homes. so many more communities. and so many more lives. along with the loss and at times seeming failure, there has been perseverance. courage. and an unwillingness to give all to prevail. none has given more than the nine firefighters we lost. and i extend, again, my welcome today to the many family members of our lost firefighters who are with us today. i also welcome the czambassadorf the united states who stands here in the state of three american families who also gave and lost so much. every one of these firefighters was loved. all were brave and had lives that meant so much to those around them.
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the funeral of jeffrey keaton, there was a coffee mug, a mug no different than most of the dads here have sure seen at some time. it was a mug that was placed on jeff's coffin and it had the wo words, "daddy, i love you to the moon and back." jeff's son, harvey, was 19 months old when he lost his father. jeff's fiancee just held their son as they mourned his loss together with his family. jeff died alongside his fellow volunteer, andrew dwire, from the halsley pack brigade, amazing group of people, fighting the creek fire. jeff and andrew were mates. together with their captain, darren, who has honored them on
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so many times now. some even referred to them as brothers. new dads, too, together with their children born only days apart. andrew's daughter, charlotte, almost 2, was also at his funeral where jenny and i joined them. innocently unaware of how horrible and terrible loss. charlotte was wearing a little white dress and had pigtails that only her mother, melissa, could have lovingly made and on top of those pigtails, she put on her father's white firefighting helmet. like jeff, andrew loved what he did. with the brigade saying his love of the fire brigade was as thick as the blood that ran through his veins. like jeff and jess and andrew, melissa, they shared a life together of such promise that is so sadly now a memory. we lost david morisi fighting a
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fire. he was a husband, a father, and a grandfather. he had been supervising the creation of vital firebreaks and died in a vehicle rollover. he was a bushman. he loved to fish, shoot and hunt. he planned on boxing day to travel to the philippines to help build a school there. he already supported the building of schools in thailand. we lost same mcpaul, he was just 28. the world at his feet. married to meagan for just a year and a half. expecting their first child. the son of a loving single mom, chris, for whom sam was her entire world. there will come a day when that young boy or girl will imagine what their father was like and will ask questions and when that day comes, we want that precious child to know that their dad was
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even better than they could have ever imagined. he was the best of us. matt cavana was also a young father. two children. 6-year-old ruben and 4-year-old kate. a devoted husband. loved his fly fishing and had been a member of the forest fire management victoria for ten years. on the day of the accident, he'd been extinguishing unattended campfires. his older brother said his family lost the most special person in the world. bill slade was just as loved and his wife, carol, daughter, stephanie, and son, ethan, know how much he was loved. bill had worked in land and fire management for 40 years and was about to retire. it was said there was no one more experienced and no one as fit as well. bill even fought the ash wednesday fires in 1983. was described as a true gentleman with the kindness and
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gentlest of souls. and i spoke to ethan and stephanie, they could not have been more proud but also more devastated by their loss. when we thought we couldn't hurt any more, we lost three men who had traveled half a world to protect us. we honor our american friends. we had no greater friend than the united states. captain ian mcbeth. mcde-morgan jr. who were lost to us when their c130 hercules airport crashed. captain mcbeth, experienced firefighting pilot, survived by his wife and three children. he had served in iraq, in afghanistan, and was a member of the montana air national guard. his daughter training to be a pilot, herself, said she wanted everyone to know he was just a wonderful person. first officer hudson had received in the marine corps for 20 years including as a c130
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pilot. he is from buckeye, arizona, and survived by his wife, noreen. across arizona, they lowered flags in his honor. and flight engineer demorgan had served in the u.s. air force with 18 years as a flight engineer on the c130. it was said his passion was flying. i announced a medal will be for summer of 2019-2020 for these fires. advised that once the bush fire response is complete and eligibility criteria for the medal has been set, all nine of these firefighters who have lost their lives will be nominated to be posthumously awarded the national emergency medal. in addition, the government has reconsidered the criteria of eligibility for the national medal. this is australia's most awarded
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civilian meddal with more than 237 medals awarded since its inception. it recognizes the long and diligent service by members of eligible australian government and community organizations that risk their lives or safety to protect and assist the community. it is awarded after 15 years of service. it has not been awarded posthumously to long-term members or eligible organizations who have lost their lives in the line of duty. i'm also pleased to announce that her imagimajesty agreed tod the regulations of the national medal to be awarded posthumously. this change will allow the national medal to be awarded to those who died in the service of their duty and who would have reached 15 years' service if not for their death. this amendment will be retrospective to the creation of the medal in 1975 meaning that oath who are hathers who died i of others will now be eligible. mr. speaker, we witnessed the most remarkable actions through these fires by our volunteers and our defense forces in recent months.
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tens and thousands of volunteers, all of them doing things that were extraordinary, although they would consider themselves ordinary. joined by 6,500 defense force personnel including 3,000 reservists who are compulsory called out. so much of it is difficult and dangerous work. ordinary people, extraordinary actions. one new south wales, alex newcome, returned to the fire ground just 12 weeks after a kidney transplant. fi his doctors weren't pleased. but as alex said, it's just what we do. we get stuck in. his kidney donor was none other than his wife, kate. a fellow firefighter in the same brigade. alex had been a volunteer for 20 years. on 21st december, his truck was overrun by flames. the truck had run out of water. couldn't activate the sprinkler system. after all he'd been through, it was touch and go. he drove his crew to safety.
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that's the story of the summer. remarkable australians standing by each other, struggling, persevering, tighten the winds where they could find them. it wasn't just firefighters. behind our fire crews, a support apparatus that did not sleep. and our communities were backed up by volunteers at evacuation centers, service groups such as the cwa, and wildlife groups. and the charities, the salvos, and so many more. some of it was organized. some of it not. together, these efforts resulted in the most tremendous outpouring of generosity our country has seen. big businesses. small businesses. moms, dads. all giving what they could. that was the wonder of this summer. tens of thousands of volunteers fighting fires then joined by 25 million of their countrymen and
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women supporting them. trusting each other. backing each other. 25 million acts of kindness. all of them reminding us about the country we love. more than money, it spoke of their resolve and reminded that what united us as australians is always more enduring and lasting than what divides us. and with every action, a reminder of who we are like the openers of the indian restaurant in gibson referred to on australia day, cooked thousands of free meals of curry and rice. chemists, despite having their own home burning down and not having an electronic payment system, kept the pharmacy open. businesses who saw a survivor, took no payment for clothes or meals. the wildlife volunteers. one woman gave the shirt off her own back looking for koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, to protect. the men who drove six hours with
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30 kilograms of sausages to cook a barbecue for a devastated community. the convoys of trucks that took supplies through to communities that needed them, an army of angels that loaded 150 trucks of supplies and got them there. those who knocked on doors and at no charge climbed on roofs and cleared the gutters of local homes. the families who opened up their own homes to strangers. and the children, cake stalls, lemonade stalls, giving away their pocket money and christmas money. kids of this country give us every reason to hope. the generosity of the rest of the world was also so humbling. 70 nations offered its assistance. over 300 firefighters sent from the united states, canada, and to new zealand to whom we are so grateful. we also had assistance from the uie which is greatly appreciated. military assistance from new zee
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lar zealand, united states, singapore, zwra pjapan. a wonderful family in fiji. when the 54 engineers from the republic of fiji military forces arrived in melbourne, they placed their hands over their heart and sung a hymn, "angels watching over me" and they have been to us. our pacific family has been so incredibly generous. our neighbors have given generously from not much. reminding me of the widows' might to our bush fire relief. in the second largest city, the young people began a wheelbarrow push collecting donations and giving them to our consulate. having stepped up for our family, we're now being so blessed by seeing our closest neighbors step up for us. we are so grateful to our pacific family. the actions of every level of
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government have been kpemp exem. i pay tribute to our local governments who have all been doing exceptional work. i acknowledge the commissioner who's here today. amazing job. in our own ranks, i want to acknowledge those wonderful workers, the electric staff, the members here. not just the members that sit on this side, all members in this and the other place. and their teams who have worked under extraordinary pressure. as members of this place, we're all so proud of our colleagues and what they've done during this time and those who serve with them. across government, there have been tremendous efforts a s want to acknowledge the standing contributions of australia and director general who's here with
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us today. also pay tribute to the contribution of our australian defense forces. 6,500 personnel providing support in the field, at sea, from the air, defense bases and fire-affected communities going back to september of last year and continue day to day. that includes these reservists. the first compulsory callout of reserves in our history for these purposes. compulsory callout will end this friday. the adf task force is led by major general jake elwood, as he's known. have been undertaking vital on-the-ground tasks like delivering emergency food and water, evacuating stranded people, re-opening roads, restoring services, clearing debris, building fences and burying dead animals. this reflects the transition of adf support from assisting to save lives and properties to relief and recovery operations. their sheer presence just presented such encouragement and boosted morale when australians so devastated could look up and see them near and they knew they
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were supporting. they'll coronet to pntinue to p support wherever it's needed for as long as it's needed. full-time forces and now-volunteer reservists. recovery operations require a whole of government response and that is why we established the national bush fire recovery agency under the leadership of former ifp commissioner. it's overseeing a national bush fire recovery fund which will support all recovery efforts across australia over the next two years and for as long as it takes. we've allocated initial and additional $2 billion to fund this agency to ensure families, farmers, businessowners, and communities hit by these fires get the support they need as they recover working closely with our colleagues and state and territory governments. already the governor's made major commitments providing funding, cleanup operations, tourism support, wildlife recovery, local government assistance, small business reconstruction, primary
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producers, family, grazers, families, as well as vital mental health support. in addition to that, over $100 million already provided in emergency payments. however, today is not the day to speak in detail of these initiatives. today is the day for memorial and commemoration. we know that recovery takes time and we are all here for the long haul. mr. speaker, following a national disaster of this magnitude, we must also heed the lessons. these fires have been befueled by one of the worst droughts on record. changing in our climate and a buildup in fuel, amongst other factors. our summers are getting longer, drier, and hotter. that's what climate change does. and that requires a new responsiveness, resilience, and a reinvigorated focus on adaptation. today i've written to the premiers and chief minister to seek their feedback on the draft terms of reference for a commission that i flagged now for several weeks along the
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terms that i've outlined in public. the royal commission will be led by former chief of the defense force, and will shine a light on what needs to be done to make our country safer and our communities more resilient. we owe it to those we have lost. we owe it to those who have fought these fires. we owe it to our children and the land, itself, to learn from the lessons that the are necessary. mr. speaker, over a century ago, henry lawson wrote a poem about a bush fire in a place called dingo strub. it is dialogued again in the fires past and the black scrub silent and grim. except for the blaze of an old dead tree or the crash of a falling limb. in his reminiscence, lawson writes about three men who wipe away tears of smoke and put themselves in harm's way to save a family. when the fire has passed, he writes of the men, when they
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wanted again in dingo strubs, they'll be there to do the work. that's what we'll all do. here in this house and across australia. to do the work, to do the work of recovery, to build back better, do the work of learning, to do the work of repair iing shattered hearts, broken communities. that is what we owe our country. that is what we owe each other. australians are overcomers. despite the scale of this disaster and the tragedies, australia is not and will never be overwhelmed. as we face the challenges that remain active, as we confront and face the devastating drought compounded in so many places by these fires. as we confront and contain the challenge of the virus, indeed, that threatens the world. australians will not be overwhelmed. we will overcome as our national
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anthem encourages us with, courage all, let us proclaim, advance australia. so i conclude immemorial, i conclude in thanks, i conclude in honor to those we have lost and deepest of our sympathies and condolences to you and we simply hope and pray that as we've gathered here today to acknowledge your great loss and the heroes that you have lost that this will make your journey just that little bit easier. >> the leader of the opposition. >> i thank the prime minister for agreeing to the proposal for today to be devoted to this important condolence and
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commemoration. and i honor the families of those who have lost loved ones who are joining us here today. we are united in shock and in sadness. lives lost. dreams shattered. homes destroyed. communities devastated. native animals pushed to extinction. livelihoods gone up in flames. so much of our country has been consumed by fire and yet amongst this terrible loss, we've seen bravery, we have seen courage, and we have seen resilience. we have seen our fellow australians up against the inferno. we've seen our fellow austral n australians on the beach. in unimaginable scenes. huddled together in midday darkness with nowhere to turn. but the sea. a horrific illustration that
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this was anything but business as usual. the impact of our changing climate tragically played out before us. those directly affected but also those who were far away from the flames but who could see, smell, and, indeed, touch its fallout. we do yet not know fully what we have lost because we're still losing it. it's not over. australian is still burning. it's significant that in the past, some of our worst fires have been after the date on which we commemorate this motion. on the weekend, the fires burnt their way into yet another month on the calendar. this catastrophic fire season which stretches right back across summer but began in
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spring has taken so much. it has taken lives and it has taken loved ones. for those who've been lost and those who lost partners, family, or friends, it has stolen the future. for many who have seen their homes and the physical, sentimental accumulations of lifetimes gone up in flames, it has robbed the past. it has hit the economy but just how greatly is something we cannot yet piece together. it has taken a toll on mental health and we will be feeling the reverberations for some time yet. it's taken so much of our unique wildlife. it's going to take us a while to even measure the full scale of the calamity. but through it all, we've seen our brave firefighters. they do not want to be there, but they feel compelled. they feel a powerful sense of
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duty. they feel driven by the overwhelming notion that when it comes to defending their communities, their country, and their fellow australians, their contribution matters. that their contribution counts. that their contribution can make the difference. we've been humbled by the arrival of so many foreign firefighters who have come not to defend their homes fwhut the na name of humanity and the name of friendship. we've been amazed by the crews in the helicopters attacking the fire from above. as we've been reminded so tragically, it is a dangerous task. we are awed by all of them. by their courage and their sacrifice. it is an awe that has taken on a terrible sense of regularity but the awe never feels just routine. our brave women and men who get into those trucks and aircraft
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have now illusions about what they're up against, and yet they keep going, day after day, week after week, month after month, they head back into these hillscapes. they live with moments of fear. they live with long stretches of boredom. they live with exhaustion amongst the adrenaline. they witness suffering, both human and animal. those who haven't experienced the fires directly get glimpses of it through video footage of fire trucks dwarfed by fireball. even when it shrank onto the small screen and viewed from the safety of our homes and workplaces, it is simply terrifying. the devastating impact of a changing climate seen around the world and felt, touched, and smelt by australians hundreds of kilometers from the fires. we offer our deepest gratitude to their families who are also put through it again and again
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and again. we cannot doubt how proud these families are of the firefighter in their mist. indeed, as i've traveled around the country, that is the sense that you get. and, indeed, in the morning tea hosted by the prime minister this morning, these extraordinary family members in mourning of their loved ones but proud of their wonderful contribution to their fellow australians and the sacrifice that they have made. alongside the professionals, so many of our firefighters are volunteers. i've met them around the country. one of the things that strikes you when you meet them is just
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what extraordinary australians they are. meeting people who one gentleman in defense on christmas eve had began fighting fires in september in northern new south wales. a firefighter, mike, in cudley creek in the adelaide hills who when i said to him, so how long have you been going here for? have you had a break at all? he'd been going for a couple of weeks, he said. just a couple of weeks here. said, that's pretty tough. he said, oh, yeah, but before then, and he went on to outline he'd been on the north coast of new south wales. when i was with susan templeman on australia day in the blue mountains, we went to glenbrook and there the head of the local rural fire service who we were
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chatting with there said not all the brigade are here today because some of them have gone off to maria yesterday. these are men and women who have been fighting fires for months. protecting their own homes and yet going to help their fellow australians. i met people in narra who were there protecting other communities but were worried about what was happening where they lived. but in the meantime, from traveling to another destination, the fires had then been brought much closer to their own homes. but they stayed. they stayed. protecting strangers' homes. quite, quite remarkable. and it is important and i
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support very much a proposal that we honor these australians with appropriate recognition into the future. when our brave volunteers keep giving us so much over such a long time at such a cost to themselves, it is time also, though, i believe, we'll have to consider expressing our gratitude in a more practical way in the future. it is not sustainable for people to not receive an income over such a long period of time and i'm pleased that that was recognized during this crisis, but we do need to in any assessment look at what the changing climate and the changing expectations of future events mean for the way that we structure our response. so through this bush fire crisis, it has been an honor and very humbling to engage directly with people in those affected
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communities. firefighters, volunteers, small businessowners, defense personnel, local government, men, women, girls and boys. i've listened to their stories and heard their practical suggestions. throughout this crisis, proposals for national coordination for resources and support for our firefighters including our volunteers in affected communities. i want to acknowledge the fact that minister littleproud has returned every call and has responded to every request that i have made which has been pretty regular. it's got to be said working with our minister, mari watt. we're guided by a single though in this together. working together is our only way forward. i have every confidence that as australians, that's what we will do. that's who we are.
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we have been tested in so many ways. it will not surprise anyone that the toughest of times has brought out the very best in australians. i've been humbled by it as i traveled through the fire zones. it's what so many of us across australia have seen, and, indeed, it is what so many have lived through. neighbor helping neighbor. friend helping friend. stranger helping stranger. human comforting animal. through the long hell of this bush fire season, we have held each other. we have lent each other our shoulders. we pushed through. communities have pulled together. we must acknowledge the crucial work that's been done by the abc. a proud national institution in keeping communities informed and up to date in what is often a dangerous and fast-changing environment. to say our national broadcast has been indispensable is simply
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an understatement. likewise, we must recognize the vital and tireless efforts of the personnel from our parks and forest management bodies. we also thank all of our maritime workers and our defense personnel who've thrown themselves into the effort. we have done everything in our power to hold on to hope. just as we have seen hope rewarded, we have seen it defeated. as this season of fire has reminded us, none of us is invincible. each death leaves a terrible hole in a community. each death is the cruelest of blows to a family, one that inflicts a hurt that may one day soften but will never fade. we feel each one of them in our hearts. as a nation, we have lost our own. we have also lost those who crossed the sea to help us. we embrace them as our own. we think of the names that tragically growing list of
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names. each one of those names belong to a human being who is the center of the universe. each one a name that no one will answer to anymore. but we hold on to them. among those we have lost, jeffrey keaton and andrew odwire. firefighters. all young fathers. i got to meet jeffrey's son, harvey, before. a wonderful young boy. and andrew's daughter, charlotte. they were born just days apart. our hearts break to see children so small and so young attending their father's funerals. fighter samuel mcpaul, his child is due in may and will only know him secondhand. his wife, meagan, will never see him holding their baby. she'll never see him give his first fatherly kiss. they kill not share the first steps, the first words, first birthday or first day at school. that baby will grow up knowing
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they're the child of an amazing man and one who we're all proud of. bill slade, a veteran firefighter who picked up his first firehose in 1979. a husband, a father, a proud member of the australian workers union. he fought fires on ash wednesday and black saturday before he threw himself into what would prove his final fight in the east gibsane blaze. his wife, carol, said by a relative, i'll miss him, i'll miss the great times we had yet to come. dick lange and son, clayton lange. dick was a pioneering bush pilot and safari operator. clayton a talented plastic and reconstructive surgeon. father and son had been fighting fire on kangaroo island for two days when they lost the fight. you will not be forgotten. the three americans lost in the crash of the lockheed c30
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hercules airtanker, captain ian mcbreath, first officer paul hu jr. we talk about friendship between nations. this was that friendship expressed at the profoundest level. father and son robert and patrick sellway, they stayed to defend their home in cabargo and their precious hard-earned farming equipment. patrick's wife, renee, wrote, we are broken. our hearts embrace patrick and renee's young son who will grow up without a father who lives on in memory and the stories told by those who knew him and loved him. there have been so many. we mourn each and every one of them. as the fires finally leave, the communities are left to deal with the aftermath. physical, financial, and perhaps most importantly, emotional. then there is wildlife that have
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be ing miraculously survived the inferno left in the desperate need of the second miracle, mainly finding food and shelter among the desolation. so, what now? yes, fire is part of who we are. our recorded history is heavy with its grimness. but we are at a turning point. this is not business as usual. this is not fire as usual. we can to longer fall back on the poetry of dorothy mckeller and comfort ourselves with the thought that it's always been like this. that this is the price we pay for living on a beautiful but sometimes harsh and unforgiving contin contine continent. nor can we soften reality with the fiction that we had no way of predicting this. we had no choice but to turn to face the harsh new reality. the scale and intensity of the fires has been unprecedented.
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but the responses to the fire from our fellow australians has been completely as expected. there has been toughness. resilience. generosity. and, amazingly, through it all, there has been a sense of humor. all of these qualities have been put to the test during this time of fire. and australians have shown their true character. in this time of upheaval, the only certainty we have is that they will be tested again. we must be ready. i pay my respects to all those today who have lost loved ones. i pay my respects also to those who are still suffering physically and mentally and say that we as a parliament will provide every assistance and i'm
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sure that we can all agree on that. i also pay tribute in conclusion to all those extraordinary men and women who have in the face of incredible danger to themselves have put their fellow australians, their communities, and their nation, before their own interests. we thank you. we praise you. we honor you. >> thank you. tonight on c-span3, a hearing with state department and usaid officials on security assistance to mexico. members of a house foreign affairs subcommittee learn about how the u.s. is working with the mexican government to combat drug and arms trafficking by cartels and the current humanitarian crisis in the country. watch the hearing tonight on c-span3 beginning at


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