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MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Mar. 21) - Australia's Prime Minister John Howard delivered an address to the nation, appealing for support for the Australian troops now fighting Iraq.

The government said Australian fighter jets have already been in action, providing cover for planes carrying electronic equipment and tankers carrying fuel for combat aircraft.

Australian Special Air Service forces are also involved in the conflict.

"It is real work, it's important work, it's dangerous work, it's not just symbolic," Defence Minister Robert Hill.

Howard used his televised address to the nation to argue that Australia's support for the war is in the national interest and to ask those not convinced, not to take it out on the troops.

"To those in the community who may not agree with me, please vent your anger towards me and towards the government. Remember that our forces are on duty in the Gulf in our name and doing their job in the best traditions of Australia's defence forces."

March 21, 2003

Radio Australia: 

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