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Transcript of address to the soldiers: Robertson Barracks, Darwin: 23 August 2013



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LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION THE HON. TONY ABBOTT MHR FEDERAL MEMBER FOR WARRINGAH

23 August 2013

TRANSCRIPT OF THE HON. TONY ABBOTT MHR, ADDRESS TO THE SOLDIERS, ROBERTSON BARRACKS, DARWIN, NORTHERN TERRITORY

E&OE……………………….……………………………………………………………

Men and women of First Brigade, it is a real honour to be here to talk with some of you, to meet with some of you and to get a better experience and a better understanding of the work you do. I want to pay a particular note of thanks to A Squadron with whom I did some PT this morning. I want to thank them for going easy on me. And look, if I'm bent over double for the next couple days of the campaign you will know why.

But look it is a real honour to be here amongst you and a real honour to thank you on behalf of the Coalition and I am sure I speak for all Members of Parliament and all Australian citizens to thank you all for the work that you do.

It is often hard to be very confident in the work of Australian Government but it is very easy to be confident in the work of the Australian armed forces. You are highly professional, you are totally committed and you do what almost no-one else does. You put your lives on the line potentially for our country. You sign up to put yourselves at risk so that the rest of us can be safe and free.

I am in awe of the commitment that you make. I salute you and as long as I'm in public life I will do my best to ensure that you have the support and the equipment and the encouragement that you need to do your job as well as you possibly can.

I want to say a couple more things. I know not all of you have been to Afghanistan. Some of you have. That conflict is now winding down. We don't know ultimately what will happen to the people of Afghanistan, but we should be very proud of the work that Australians have done there. You should be very proud of the work that you and your comrades have done there.

For every day that Australians were in Afghanistan, that country was better and for every day that we were there, it will be better. We can be very proud of what we have done and we can be very confident that the length of our stay there has helped to promote in a country, a previously bereft of so many of the ideals of human decency, we have helped to promote those ideals of decency and fairness which should be at the heart of any society.

A second point I want to make and I guess I'm encouraged to make that by your commander, the Brigadier. It's good to see that we have an effective, mechanised capability. It's good to see that we have modern operational tanks in the Australian Army. Long may that be the case.

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If we want to be a modern combat capable army it's important that we have a strong mechanised armoured capability. That's what you provide us and thank you so very much indeed.

It's a tremendous honour to be the leader of a major political Party. As a senior politician you get privileged access to many aspects of our national life. You gain insights, you have confidences shared, you have experiences that are denied to most people. Of all the experiences that I have had, few are more humbling and more memorable than the times that I've spent with the men and women of the Australian armed forces, whether it's on bases such as this, whether it's in Tarin Kowt and other places where our soldiers and military personnel have been active. I am so proud and thrilled to be with you. I am so proud and thrilled at the work you've done. You are the finest of us. I salute you and I look forward to doing what I can to serve you in the months and years ahead.

Thank you.

[ends]