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Britain's Prince Harry tours Australia
( 2003-09-23 11:16) (Agencies)

Britain's Prince Harry arrived Tuesday in Australia for a monthslong ride on the range, but not without some wrangling over who's going to pony up for his security.

The 19-year-old prince, third in line to the British throne, followed a path beaten by thousands of British backpackers each year although he flew first-class.

Harry later headed to Sydney's Taronga Park Zoo, where he posed with a koala, a baby kangaroo and an echidna.

Harry, who recently graduated from the exclusive Eton boarding school, will be shadowed by British security agents backed up by Australian officers a security operation expected to cost $400,000.

Kevin Rudd, foreign affairs spokesman for the opposition Labor Party, said Monday the Australian government would have no problem paying if the prince does charity work.

"But if it is just a bit of a jaunt, I think maybe we should look carefully at the cost-sharing arrangements with the British government on this, because it's a lot of money," he told Australian television.

As a former British penal colony, Australia is a constitutional monarchy with the British queen as its head of state.

Harry is taking a year off after graduating, following the example of his brother, William.

Harry is expected to follow the traditional royal route of serving time in the armed forces. He passed an admissions test at the elite Sandhurst Military Academy in southern England, but may wait up to two years before starting his training, royal aides said Monday.

For the next three months, Harry will work from dawn to dusk as an Australian cowboy known as a jackaroo on remote cattle ranches in the Outback, a spokeswoman at the prince's Clarence House residence in London told Britain's Press Association.

The prince will learn "about farming and agriculture" and will be "mustering cattle on horseback," she said.

Tourism minister Joe Hockey said Harry's visit would be a major boost for tourism, which has suffered in the face of terror fears, the ailing global economy and the worldwide outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome.

"It sends a fantastic message ... that the most desirable place in the world for a young Brit is Australia," Hockey told the Seven network's Sunrise program.

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