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Speech at the Victoria Cross Investiture of Corporal Daniel Alan Keighran

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Minister for Defence - Speech at the Victoria Cross Investiture of Corporal Daniel Alan Keighran

1 November 2012

Her Excellency the Governor-General, Ms Quentin Bryce.

Prime Minister, The Honourable Julia Gillard MP.

The Leader of the Opposition, The Honourable Tony Abbott MP.

Corporal Daniel Keighran, his wife Kathryn, and his family.

Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley.

Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison.

Members of the Australian Defence Force, distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.

The Victoria Cross for Australia bears two words, ‘for valour’.

It is our highest award for bravery and rightly takes precedence over all other Australian Awards.

Australia’s first Victoria Cross was awarded in 1900, during the Boer War, before Federation. 96 Australians were awarded the Victoria Cross under the old Imperial Honours system.

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.

Corporal Keighran, yours is only the third to be awarded.

Like Corporal Donaldson and Corporal Roberts-Smith, you have truly shown us what is meant by ‘for valour’.

Your acts of conspicuous gallantry, devotion to duty and disregard for your own safety in the face of the enemy show us why the Victoria Cross is awarded in recognition of only the most exceptional courage.

You serve now for all time as a reminder that a young Australian is capable of an extraordinary act of valour, capable of a standard of

courage, of audacity and single-minded determination to help and to protect others.

Your actions in August 2010 were of the highest order of selflessness and bravery. Your actions underscore the willingness of members of the Australian Defence Force to place duty above all else and highlight the sacrifice which members of the Australian Defence Forces are willing to make.

Today, you make our country proud.

Today, you make all Australians proud.

Today, our nation and our people salute you.