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Julia Gillard Visits Tasmania To Inspect Bushfire Relief

Prime Minister Julia Gillard visited Tasmania today to inspect bushfire damage and the relief program.

Gillard inspected bushfire damage in Dunalley. Later she held a media conference with Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings. [Read more…]


National Day Of Mourning Service For Bushfire Victims

A 90-minute ceremony has taken place at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, as part of the National Day of Mourning for victims of the February 7 bushfires.

Kevin Rudd, John Brumby, Malcolm Turnbull and Ted Baillieu were the major political figures at the service which was also attended by representatives of religious groups. The Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, spoke, as did Princess Anne, representing the Queen.

An orchestra and choir augmented the speeches and messages throughout the service, culminating in Bruce Woodley’s rendition of “We Are Australian”.

  • Listen to the service (complete 95m)
  • Watch an extract of the service (6m)

Black Saturday Bushfires: Moving Speeches In Parliament For Victims

The House of Representatives was the scene today of a moving condolence motion for victims of the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria.

The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, was not in attendance, having stayed in Melbourne, but his deputy, Julia Gillard, visibly affected, gave a magnificent speech to a silent chamber. She was followed by the Opposition Leader, Malcolm Turnbull, who delivered an equally impressive and moving speech. [Read more…]


Australian Fighting Spirit Shown In Canberra Fires: Howard

Following an inspection of the damage caused by yesterday’s bushfires in Canberra, the Prime Minister, John Howard, has commended the “great fighting spirit” of Australians.

Referring to assistance being provided in the nation’s capital today, Howard praised “the generosity of the people of Canberra and the people of Australia towards their fellow Australians who are in difficult circumstances.”

Howard also said that the loss of property, the intensity of the heat, and the suddenness of the firestorm is beyond the experience of Australians.

Transcript of the doorstop interview conducted by the Prime Minister, John Howard, in Canberra, following his inspection of the damage caused by yesterday’s firestorm. [Read more…]


Two Dead, 400 Homes Lost, As Canberra Burns; Disaster Not Yet Over

Daylight in Australia’s capital territory has revealed the full extent of the firestorm that struck yesterday.

Media outlets report this morning that 2 people are dead, 3 more are missing, and around 400 homes have been destroyed.

Canberra is ringed by fires to the north, west and south as the disaster continues to unfold.

Hot, windy and dry weather conditions threaten the nation’s capital with more devastation this Sunday.

The Prime Minister, John Howard, who chose to live in Sydney following his election in 1996, is cutting short his holiday to return to Canberra. The Governor-General, Peter Hollingworth, is also returning. [Read more…]