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Wednesday, 11 February 2009
Page: 1016

Mr HAWKE (9:54 AM) —I rise to pay tribute today to the life of Rifleman Stuart Nash, who was killed in action in Afghanistan late last year in service with the British Army. I had the immense privilege of attending Rifleman Nash’s funeral at a thanksgiving service for his life on 14 January this year at St Matthew’s Anglican Church, Windsor. The service was also attended by the Minister for Defence, my friend and colleague the member for Greenway and the state member for Hawkesbury. Stuart Nash and his family, parents Bill and Amanda, come from my community of Glenhaven in Mitchell.

Stuart Nash was a much-loved son of William Clarke College. He completed his gold Duke of Edinburgh in 2005. He held dual citizenship but chose to serve in the British Army because there was more of a chance he would see active service. He was a member of the Rifles, a British regiment, and quickly became one of the most promising soldiers of that regiment. He was just 21 years old when killed in action and had joined the Australian Air Force Cadets when he was just 13.

The strong ethic of service Stuart held in his life was embodied throughout the service and, as the timeless and beautiful hymn the Two Fatherlands and our anthems, God Save the Queen and Advance Australia Fair, echoed through St Matthew’s Windsor church, I was reminded of the great links between Great Britain and Australia. It is a church that was built by Governor Lachlan Macquarie when Australia was part of Great Britain and it felt appropriate and exactly as Stuart, who was a dual citizen of both our countries, would have wanted and sought.

His life was the embodiment of the finest qualities in our young people: to serve others and to seek to fight for the freedom and liberty that we all enjoy. I was struck, as were we all, by the tributes of his fellow soldiers, which were a testimony to his Aussie spirit of mateship and the sense of duty that he brought to his role as a soldier. Stuart Nash was a man who put his duty to his mates, his country and the cause of freedom above himself and his family. His life is an inspiration to others and a reminder of how much we owe to so many of our servicemen and women throughout the history of both our countries, Australia and Britain.

To Bill and Amanda Nash on behalf of all members of our Mitchell community and of our nation: we share your grief at the loss of one of our finest young men in so worthy a cause.