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Tuesday, 30 October 2012
Page: 12692

Mr CRAIG KELLY (Hughes) (18:19): It is with much sadness that I rise, for the second time in two days, to express my condolences over the loss of a sapper stationed at Holsworthy. The role of a sapper is a brave one. The sapper advances even beyond commandos on the frontline, to provide for their safe passage, locating and dismantling improvised explosive devices, mines and bombs, and does this under fire, often at night. It takes a very special soldier to perform this role, and sadly we have lost too many in recent times.

Corporal Scott Smith was a sapper serving with the Special Operations Task Group and was from the Special Operations Engineer Regiment. It says much of his character that Sapper Smith lost his life while conducting a partnered clearance operation against an insurgent network in Uruzgan. In other words, he was doing his bit to improve conditions and increase the safety of his fellow soldiers. Following this operation, more than 100 IEDs were dismantled and removed from the battlefield. We have seen the devastation that just a single IED can cause. His fellow soldiers are safer because of the work he did in Afghanistan. It is impossible to know how many soldiers are safe tonight because of his courage, his bravery, his skill and his professionalism, but we know it is many.

Sapper Smith was an experienced soldier, with significant frontline operational service and was on his second deployment to Afghanistan, having also served with Operation Anode in the Solomon Islands. Sapper Smith enlisted in the Army in 2006. He demonstrated a strong aptitude and made his way into the ranks of the elite 1st Combat Engineer Regiment after initial employment training. Scott's family said of his aptitude for military life:

We knew the Army was Scott's second family, his home away from home. Scott truly believed his actions made a difference; he was a truly dedicated soldier ...

But he was much more than that. Scott was someone who loved life and someone who lived life to its fullest. Corporal Smith is survived by his partner, Liv, his parents, Katrina Paterson and Murray Smith, and sister, Roxanne. At this time I think we should pause to think of the absolute evil that Corporal Smith was fighting against. In the history of mankind we have seen many evil ideologies but we have seen very few as evil as the Taliban. In the last week we have had a reminder when the Taliban shot in the head a 14-year-old schoolgirl, Malala, simply because she was speaking about the right for girls to have education. This is the evil that Corporal Smith was fighting against. This is that he gave his life to fight. Lest we forget.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms Grierson ): I understand it is the wish of honourable members to signify at this stage their respect and sympathy by rising in their places.

As a mark of respect to the memory of the deceased all members present stood, in silence .