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Graduation parade of the Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra, Thursday, 10 December 1998: address on the occasion.

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I congratulate the Parade Commander, Matthew Starr, and all on parade - both those who are graduating and those who are supporting them, including the Academy Band under Jarrod Pendlebury - on the extraordinarily high standard of the turn-out, drill and music. For the Graduands and all associated with them, it is a truly memorable and outstanding final ADFA Parade.

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 demands of the ADFA course inevitably impact on private lives and personal relationships. To you all, I say thank you for your loyalty, your understanding and your support both today and through the course.

The objectives of the Australian Defence Force Academy are to provide a military education and training to develop the professional abilities and the qualities of character and leadership required of officers in our Defence Force and, consistently with that military training, to provide a balanced and liberal education. The more than 290 graduands who are on parade today have satisfied the heavy demands imposed by those objectives and have successfully completed all the requirement of the ADFA courses. That is a truly outstanding achievement.

The graduating class includes a number of members from other countries - from New Zealand, from Singapore and from Thailand. To each of them, 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.

Each ADFA graduating class is faced with differing contemporary challenges. Yours - the Class of 1998 - relate to a peacetime environment which gives rise to an increased emphasis on peacekeeping and humanitarian service while satisfying the basic requirement of an ever-present military capacity and ability to defend our nation and to safeguard its people. As service personnel, you must adjust to the social


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dynamics of our nation, including full appreciation and acceptance of the contemporary role and complete equality of women in society in general and in our Australian Defence Force in particular. And you must, at every stage of your careers, be conscious of the importance of mutual respect at and between all levels of personnel. If you are not prepared to accord to your fellow members of the Defence Force the respect to which they are entitled, you will never fulfil your potential as an officer.

The years ahead will demand much of you. On the other hand, the opportunities to serve and to excel are almost without limit. And 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 to all its people. And you will have the strength and pride that comes from knowing that you are part of a Defence Force which has, throughout the history of our nation, served Australia superbly well.

I am sure that I speak for everyone who is present when I warmly congratulate each one of you on your achievement in successfully completing the demanding courses of this Academy. We are proud of you and wish you fulfilment and every happiness and success in your service career ... and throughout your life.