REMARKS TO ADF PERSONNEL BEING DEPLOYED TO THE MIDDLE EAST
RAAF BASE WILLIAMTOWN
THURSDAY, 18 SEPTEMBER 2014
***CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY***
Thank you, Prime Minister.
Men and women of the Australian Defence Force
It was about ninety-nine years and ten months ago, on the other side of our continent, ships carried thousands of young Australians away from our country and into history.
Today, you leave our shores to write your own page in Australia’s history.
You go in the name of our country and on the side of humanity.
You leave us today not to pursue territory or power, but to help the displaced and protect the vulnerable.
Not to assert the supremacy of one faith or one people but to defend the rights of all faiths and all peoples.
Because of your compassion, our nation goes to the aid of innocent people most in need of a helping hand.
Because of your skills and abilities, peace and tolerance will prevail over the poisonous hatred and fanaticism sweeping across northern Iraq.
Because of your courage, Australia joins its name to an international humanitarian mission.
A growing global effort, undertaken in co-operation with the new Iraqi Government.
Your mission, in this region torn by violence – under threat of attack from an aggressive enemy capturing weaponry as it advances – brings with it a deadly risk.
All Australians admire the bravery that such action demands.
All Australians are proud of you today – and none more than your families.
But I do understand that for the families here today, and watching on at home, occasions such as these bring with them a sense of anxiety as well as pride.
All of you, and your families, are in Australia’s thoughts today.
And I promise you that our nation will stand by their side until you return.
It has been a privilege to meet with you and to wish you well on behalf of the Australian people.
Australia bids you farewell with the utmost respect for your professionalism, bravery and skill.
We wish you success in the days and weeks ahead.
Above all, we wish you a speedy and safe return to the people who love you and the country you love.
MEDIA CONTACT: LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT – 02 6277 4053
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