Australian PM Pays Emotional Tribute to Natural Disaster Vic

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Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard held back tears as she gave a condolence speech at parliament in memory of flood victims. Gillard has been criticized for not showing enough empathy during the various disasters this summer.

Australia's parliament met for the first time this year on Tuesday.

Political parties put hostilities on hold as they paid tribute to those who died during a summer of natural disasters.

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She paid special tribute to thousands of volunteers and rescue workers, displaying an Australian flag given to her by the crew of a rescue helicopter.

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She also told of local heroes that emerged from touching rescue stories.

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Opposition leader Tony Abbott also paid tribute to volunteers and rescue workers and commended Gillard for her efforts.

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The bipartisanism is unlikely to last very long, with the government and opposition still arguing over how to pay for disaster recovery.

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Political parties put hostilities on hold as they paid tribute to those who died during a summer of natural disasters.

[...]

[...]

She paid special tribute to thousands of volunteers and rescue workers, displaying an Australian flag given to her by the crew of a rescue helicopter.

[...]

She also told of local heroes that emerged from touching rescue stories.

[...]

Floods in the northern Queensland state alone killed 35 people, with nine still missing, inundated 30,000 homes and wiped out roads, rail lines and bridges.

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Opposition leader Tony Abbott also paid tribute to volunteers and rescue workers and commended Gillard for her efforts.

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The bipartisanism is unlikely to last very long, with the government and opposition still arguing over how to pay for disaster recovery.

Economists estimate the floods and cyclone damage to be more than $10 billion with the national government to pay around 75 percent of the costs.

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