Parliament stops to remember

THE Queensland Parliament yesterday observed a minute's silence for Gympie's Corporal Ashley Birt and his two comrades, Captain Bryce Duffy and Lance Cpl Luke Gavin, who were killed in Afghanistan last month.

Speaking on behalf of the Opposition, Gympie MP David Gibson backed Premier Anna Bligh's motion of condolence, which was adopted unanimously.

It was the first motion of its kind under new parliamentary standing orders, introduced on October 11.

The new orders ensure parliament observes aminute's silence on the first sitting day after advice of the death of a member of the Australian Military on active service overseas.

"Little did we know we would be coping with the loss of three," Mr Gibson said yesterday.

Ms Bligh, who attended Cpl Birt's Gympie funeral on Monday, said Queensland owed a special debt of gratitude to Cpl Birt "in addition to his military service overseas ... for his assistance in Operation Queensland Flood Assist."

She said Cpl Birt was "very well known and very well loved in the Gympie community".

Mr Gibson told the House he supported the Premier's "kind words".

He said the three names until recently were spoken of by their family and friends with plans and hopes for the future.

"That all changed on October 29 as these three soldiers were killed during a parade. I join my parliamentary colleagues in mourning the loss of these three fine soldiers and in saying to their families that our thoughts and prayers are with them at this difficult time."

Federal Parliament adopted a similar motion on October 31.

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