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Tuesday, 26 August 2008
Page: 3659


Senator CHRIS EVANS (Leader of the Government in the Senate) (3:46 PM) —by leave—I move:

That the Senate records its deep regret at the death of Signaller Sean Patrick McCarthy on 8 July 2008 while on combat operations in Afghanistan and places on record its appreciation of his service to his country and tenders its profound sympathy to his family in their bereavement.

On behalf of all government senators, and I am sure on behalf of all senators, I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to Signaller McCarthy’s mother and father, Mary and David, and to his sisters, Leigh and Clare, and to express our sympathy to his whole extended family and friends including, of course, his fellow service men and women.

Signaller McCarthy was a patriotic Australian, an outstanding soldier and a valued member of the Special Air Service Regiment and the Royal Australian Corps of Signals. The Special Air Service Regiment, as we all know, has a long tradition of exceptional service to the defence of Australia, and Signaller McCarthy was the embodiment of the courage, professionalism and endurance that are hallmarks of this elite unit. He displayed great strength, determination and courage while serving in the challenging environments of East Timor and Afghanistan.

Unfortunately Signaller McCarthy lost his life serving his country and is owed a special debt of gratitude that can never be fully repaid. Members of parliament, and I think members of both the previous government and this government, understand the huge responsibility of asking our service personnel to serve their country in war zones, and we all feel very deeply the cost that our service men and women sometimes pay in carrying out those duties. I think it always a useful reminder to us all of the responsibilities we have in terms of trying to ensure that they are not put in harms way but that when they are we provide them with the best support we can.

Signaller McCarthy served his country admirably in a number of zones. His work with his comrades in spreading security in Oruzgan province is noble and enduring. Through his work the Taliban were weakened, the reach of the Afghan government was extended and the environment in which our troops undertake vital reconstruction work was made secure. His comrades continue that vital work. They continue to honour his memory and to honour his commitment to the task.

Signaller McCarthy’s sacrifice will not be forgotten. On behalf of the Australian government, we offer our prayers and our support to Signaller McCarthy’s family and friends and thank them for his sacrifice and service to his nation.