Aid & Development    TIM FISCHER TO LAUNCH PROJECT COMPASSION
Former Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer will today launch Project Compassion, Caritas Australia's annual lenten appeal for impoverished communities in the Pacific, Asia, Africa and Latin American regions.
   The bipartisan event, which will take place at Canberra's Old Parliament House, will include other politicians including the Hon. Laurie Brereton, Democrat Senator Natasha Stott Despoja, and Independent MLA Mr Paul Osborne.
   Mr Fischer had first-hand experience of the work of Caritas Australia while in East Timor last year as part of the official delegation to oversee the independence ballot, will officially launch Project Compassion.
   As a symbolic gesture during the launch, guests will share a simple meal of fish and rice in solidarity with people in impoverished countries like East Timor and Mozambique. A fish and rice meal combines the Christian tradition of eating fish in Lent with the simple staple of rice on which so many of the world depend.
   Organised through parishes and schools, Project Compassion begins tomorrow (Ash Wednesday), and continues until Easter Sunday (23 April). Project Compassion has been generously supported by Australians for 35 years. Last year Australians donated $4.7 million.
   - Caritas 6/3/00

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