Political leaders unite at funeral
PRIME Minister Julia Gillard stood shoulder to shoulder with Opposition leader Tony Abbott in Murwillumbah's main street yesterday in tribute to fallen soldier Nathan Bewes.
But not an audible word was spoken and both remained almost motionless for nearly 15 minutes until the funeral cortege for Private Bewes moved away from All Saints Catholic Church.
The two political leaders honoured a commitment to suspend their campaigning in the federal election for the day and political minders enforced the message that no political statements would be made.
Standing in line in the centre of the street in the official guard of honour were also defence forces chiefs, Defence Minister John Faulkner, NSW Premier Kristina Keneally and local politicians: federal Labor MP for Richmond Justine Elliot and state National Party MP for Lismore Thomas George.
The political leaders slipped into the church before the start of the hour-long service at 11am, making their way from the adjacent church hall after arriving at a back entrance. They then slipped back into the church hall before quietly leaving Murwillumbah.