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Royal Military College of Australia, Canberra, Tuesday, 9 December 1998: address on the occasion of the General Service Officers Graduation Parade.

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I congratulate Senior Under Officer Toyne and all on parade, both those who are graduating and those who will be returning to Duntroon next year, on the extraordinarily high standard of the turnout and drill. I also congratulate Major Ian McLean and the members of the RMC Band who have performed with their usual professionalism and great skill.

I also wish to address a few words to the relatives and friends of the graduands who are here today, particularly the parents, spouses and partners. The support and interest you have provided throughout the demanding course here at Duntroon are greatly appreciated. The demands of the course inevitably impact on private lives and personal relationships. To you all, I say thank you for your loyalty, your understanding and your support.

The Charter of the Royal Military College is to prepare Cadets and other selected candidates for careers as officers in the Army by promoting learning, leadership and integrity; by inspiring high ideals and the pursuit of excellence; and by inculcating a sense of duty, loyalty and service to their nation.

The more than 180 graduands on parade today have satisfied the heavy demands of that Charter and have successfully completed all other requirements of the course. Each of you has acquired the knowledge and skills, and demonstrated the physical, mental and moral qualities necessary to fulfil the leadership responsibilities of a Commissioned Officer in the military service of Australia, or, in the case of graduands from other countries, in the military service of your own country.

To those graduands from other countries - New Zealand, Thailand, Singapore — I extend my warm congratulations and good wishes on your successful completion of the course. I express the hope that you will, in the years ahead, do what you can to promote the friendship, trust and co-operation which exist between Australia and your homeland.

For those of you who are becoming officers in our Australian Defence Force, today marks the end of one phase of your professional life. And it also marks the beginning of a new phase. Life will demand much of you in your new role. But you will have much to sustain you. You will have the knowledge that the work you do is of critical importance


to your country. And you will have the strength and pride that comes from being part of a Defence Force which has, through the more than nine and a half decades of our nation, served Australia superbly well.

Each graduating class is faced with differing contemporary challenges. Yours the Class of 98 - relate to a peacetime environment with increased emphasis on United Nations service. Our military leaders must be informed about the complexities of international relations and their effect upon national defence. Our service personnel must adjust to the social dynamics of our nation, including full appreciation and acceptance of the contemporary role and the equality of women in society in general and the Army in particular. You must be flexible and capable of adapting to change, particularly in this age of technology. You will be part of our Defence Force at a time when it is undergoing its most significant structural change of the modem era. The opportunities to serve and to excel that lie ahead of you are almost without limit.

On behalf of all present and all those who have gone before you and established the honour, the traditions and the standards of this great Military College, I congratulate each of you on your achievement in successfully completing its demanding course. And I extend to each of you the warmest good wishes of us all for success and fulfilment both in your future military service ... and throughout your life.