Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

We Must Stay and Finish the Job; Saffin Tells Parliament during Afghanistan War Debate

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

We Must Stay and Finish the Job; Saffin Tells Parliament during Afghanistan War Debate

Article excerpt

I WOULD like to give some context to some of the things that have been said in this debate and some of the things that we read in the papers. In World War I, there were about 9.7 million military deaths and 6.8 million civilian deaths. In World War II, there were up to 25 million military deaths and somewhere between 40 million and 52 million civilian deaths.

In wars now, from the figures I have found, over 90 per cent of deaths are civilian deaths. Sometimes when the debate is happening and being publicised, we are not so cognisant of these statistics.

I have had quite a number of constituents contact me and speak to me about this issue since I have been the member for Page, and this has increased recently because we are debating the matter here.

Some people say that we should leave Afghanistan straight away. Some people say we have to stay. Some people say that, if we continue to stay there, they will not be able to vote for us. Some people say that, if we do not stay there, they will not be able to vote for us. So people feel very passionate about this issue, as they should.

I ... have had a conversation with a constituent who is the mother of a serving soldier in Afghanistan, and she feels quite passionate about it.

She talked to me about when we will be able to leave and things like that, but at the same time she wants us there and wants the job well done. I would like to put on record the last two sentences from an article that Chris Masters wrote: "There is no question that our soldiers should leave Afghanistan, and leave sooner rather than later. But only once the job is done."

That is the overwhelming feeling that comes from the community. That is the commitment of the government and the opposition and the message of most of the comments that have been made in this place.

There is currently talk about whether or not we should talk with the Taliban. …

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