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Tuesday, 23 August 2011
Page: 9011

Mr ROBERT (Fadden) (14:11): I join the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, and the Minister for Defence to honour Private Matthew Lambert, a soldier from 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment killed in action in Afghanistan yesterday morning. I pass on my sincere condolences to his spouse, parents and family. When Private Lambert arrived in Afghanistan as part of MTF3, his commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Smith, addressed the soldiers and said to them, 'You haven't yet earned the right to stand shoulder to shoulder with the soldiers of MTF2, but you will. I am confident we will build on their successes and that each and every one of you will work hard to emulate and expand on their achievements.' Let me say very clearly to all present, Private Lambert's unstinting service earned him the right to stand shoulder to shoulder with any in our grand military heritage. He served in a remote part of the province in Patrol Base Anaconda in the Khaz Oruzgan Valley. He served in the rough, in areas barely accessible by vehicle. He patrolled the valleys by foot, he manned the battlements, he mentored the Afghan soldiers he lived and fought with. He did everything asked of him in some of the most inhospitable terrain on earth, and he did it at night, in the rain, in the cold, in the heat, and in the dust. Private Lambert embodied everything that the 2nd Battalion is known for—duty first.

As a sniper, we know his deeds. Today we honour his name. A name known not only by us but by a family who loves him, known by the regiment who trained him, known by the men who fought with him, known by the medic who cradled him, known by the pilot who flew him, and known by the doctors and nurses who did everything possible to save him. While we collectively grieve for the loss of this fine Australian soldier, we remain eternally grateful for his sacrifice and that of the 28 others who have gone before. We are now closer to the end than the beginning. So as the light grows and the darkness fades let us continue to support our fighting men and women and let us strengthen our collective resolve to see this job through to the end. We honour you, Matthew Lambert, as we mourn your loss.

The SPEAKER: As a mark of respect, I invite honourable members to rise in their places.

Honourable members having stood in their places—

Debate adjourned.