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Tuesday, 28 September 2010
Page: 70

Senator JOYCE (Leader of the Nationals in the Senate) (6:10 PM) —I rise today to concur with the remarks of Senator Evans and Senator Johnston. Whilst we were going through an election, these people’s families have gone through a far greater turmoil with the loss of these loved and gallant men. It has also been an extremely bad time out at Enoggera Barracks for the Brisbane based 6th Battalion, RAR, losing four colleagues, and for the SAS Regiment based in Perth.

Without repeating the remarks on their service, these men and their families have paid the supreme sacrifice in the defence of our nation although not on our shores. Their lives were lost but not wasted. It is extremely important that our parliament continues to completely concur with the belief that their service was of ultimate worth in the protection of the people of Australia and that our forces seek out and close with the enemy on the enemy’s shores and not on ours.

Lance Corporal Jared MacKinney, who was 28 years old and with so much of his life ahead of him, has paid the supreme sacrifice. The lives of Private Grant Kirby and Tomas Dale were taken by an improvised explosive device—such a cruel mechanism that has claimed a number of Australian lives. It requires absolute and incredible bravery for those people, who not only know the prospect of imminent danger but see it and know exactly what can happen to them if things go wrong, to go forward. They have recent recollections of colleagues who have been killed and yet these brave Australians continue to go forward despite these absolutely cruel and inhumane devices which, we have to acknowledge, if they do not kill soldiers then they kill children, they kill other people and they kill innocent bystanders.

Trooper Jason Brown, who was also 29 years old and with so much of his life ahead of him, was a brilliant soldier and a member of the SAS. He was a person who had a great deal of pride in his position as a soldier. He saw himself as a warrior. As his father stated, he was a person who did not ask for acknowledgement; just respect for the service he gave. That is something that we are doing here right now. Private Nathan Bewes was another who was tragically killed by an improvised explosive device. All these people leave behind families, wives and children—tragically, Jared MacKinney did not meet his own child who was born on the day of his funeral.

It is so important that we give recognition of the lives they laid down for our nation in a way that we cannot even hope to comprehend and we hope never to have to emulate. We hope that no-one in our family ever has to experience this. Yet these soldiers have done it on our behalf so that we do not have to do it. We must now acknowledge the pain and the grief that their families are suffering. That pain and grief will be a reminder to them every time they see a spare bedroom, every time they see a photo on the wall and every time they go through the cupboards and see the clothes of their former lovers, partners—people that they have known. This section of their life has been taken away. We must acknowledge those children growing up not having the experience of a father who can take them to the footy or cricket. Other people in their lives will now have to play those roles in proxy for their father that was lost.

These are the ongoing sacrifices that these families make that go beyond the sacrifice that was made by the men who were killed. These sacrifices must be remembered in this chamber and they must be remembered by our nation. We must always honour their sacrifice because if they had not made that sacrifice then, within time, we would have had to make it on our shores.