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What is the government doing to combat the global threat of Ebola?

Senator DI NATALE (Victoria) (14:23):  My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Brandis. Does the government acknowledge concerns by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the current Ebola outbreak is the worst in history, having killed an estimated 3,000 people and with the potential to infect over one million people by January 2015 if not contained? Considering the recent comments by the United Nations Ebola response leader, Dr David Nabarro, in which he describes Ebola as a greater global threat than terrorism, does the minister accept that we should be fighting the threat of Ebola with the same vigour, aggression and resources with which we are currently combating the global threat of terrorism?

Senator DI NATALE (Victoria) (14:26):  Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. You will also note that the US has now sent troops as well as money to build field hospitals and training centres in Liberia. Cuba is sending over 400 medical staff. China in fact is sending a fully equipped laboratory. What is required here is logistics, troops and medical experts. Why isn't the government joining the international community by putting boots on the ground and providing what is really needed to stop the spread of Ebola?

Senator DI NATALE (Victoria) (14:27):  Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. It is important to note that MSF has rejected Australia's pledge of money because they do not have the capacity to put further medical professionals in the field. They do not want money; they need people, they need logistics. Do you concede that MSF has the relevant expertise to determine the most effective means by which to confront the epidemic and to make a significant difference in managing and fighting Ebola, which will save thousands and possibly millions of lives?

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