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Tuesday, 11 August 2009
Page: 7315


Mr RUDD (Prime Minister) (2:02 PM) —I move:

That the House record its deep regret at the death on 18 July 2009 of Private Benjamin Ranaudo while serving with the second Mentoring and Reconstruction Task Force in Afghanistan and place on record its appreciation of his service to the country and tender its profound sympathy to his family and friends in their bereavement.

Private Benjamin Ranaudo was a fine young Australian soldier loved and respected by his family, his friends and his colleagues. He was a proud member of the second Mentoring and Reconstruction Task Force. As a member of this team, he was assisting in the development of the 4th Brigade of the Afghan National Army. This important work will enable, in time, the Afghan National Security Forces to assume responsibility for their own nation’s security. As the House knows, their work is critical for the future security of Australia and of Australians. Because our soldiers play an important role in preventing Afghanistan from again becoming used as a safe haven for terrorist groups, this work remains important for the future, and Private Ranaudo lost his life in pursuit of this mission. For this, the nation owes him an everlasting debt of gratitude.

Private Ranaudo—Benny to his mates—was a bright, warm-hearted, dedicated young man full of life and full of vigour who served his country with distinction. He exemplified the attributes of courage, mateship and perseverance that are core to the Anzac spirit. He was well liked and highly respected by his fellow soldiers, who described him fondly as a man who always put his mates first.

Mr Speaker, we regard him here in this place as an Australian hero. Private Ranaudo is the 11th Australian soldier to lose his life on operations in Afghanistan. His sacrifice and the sacrifice of those who have fallen before him will never be forgotten. I want to acknowledge that his fellow soldiers continue their important work today—with distinction—in Afghanistan.

On behalf of the Australian government and all members of this House, I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to Private Ranaudo’s family: to his mother, Jennifer, and his father Angelo; to his stepfather, Terry; to his partner, Haylee; and to his sisters, Amy and Hayley. We also offer our prayers and our support to Private Ranaudo’s extended family, his friends and all his fellow service men and women.