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Thursday, 1 November 2012
Page: 12986

Mr STEPHEN SMITH (PerthMinister for Defence and Deputy Leader of the House) (14:04): On indulgence, I rise to associate myself with the remarks of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. This is a great day for our nation, it is a great day for the Australian Defence Force, it is a great day for Corporal Daniel Keighran, his wife Katherine and his family. As members would be aware, the Victoria Cross for Australia is our highest award for bravery and it rightly takes precedence over all other Australian awards. The first Victoria Cross for Australia was awarded in January 2009 to then Trooper now Corporal Mark Donaldson. The second was awarded to Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith in January 2011 and today we see the award to Corporal Daniel Keighran.

If I could indicate, by way of an aside, as the member for Perth and as Minister for Defence from Western Australia join with the local member and say how proud I am that of the three Victoria Crosses for Australia all three have a Western Australian association—Trooper Donaldson from SAS in Swanbourne, Ben Roberts-Smith from a well-known Western Australian family and now Corporal Daniel Keighran who now lives and works in the great regional centre of Kalgoorlie-Bolder.

The Victoria Cross for Australia bears two simple words—'For Valour'. Like Trooper Donaldson and Corporal Roberts-Smith, Corporal Daniel Keighran has shown us what is meant by that phrase. His acts of conspicuous gallantry, devotion to duty and disregard for his own safety in the face of the enemy show us why the Victoria Cross is awarded in recognition of only the most exceptional courage.

Corporal Daniel Keighran VC now serves, now and for all time, as a reminder that young Australians are capable of extraordinary acts of valour—capable of a standard of courage, of audacity, of single-minded determination to help and to protect others in the finest traditions of the Australian Defence Force. His actions underscore that, underscore the willingness of members of the ADF to place duty above all else, and highlight the sacrifice which members of the ADF are willing to make. Today Corporal Daniel Keighran VC has made all Australians proud. He has made our nation proud. Our nation, our people and our parliament salute him.