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Monday, 23 November 2015
Page: 13241

Dr SOUTHCOTT (Boothby) (13:32): I wanted to speak about the Australian Defence Force Parliamentary Program. This program has been running since 2000 and is based on a similar British program. It originally came about from a suggestion for the former member for Wannon, David Hawker. Under this program I have had the opportunity to go to the Middle East area of operations twice. Earlier this month I took a five-day sea ride in an Anzac class frigate, HMAS Anzac. The sea ride was from Fleet Base East, in Sydney Harbour, to Jervis Bay, going through the Eastern Australia Exercise Area, and down to Two Fold Bay, near Eden.

I was impressed with the tempo of exercises, or evolutions. There were mine transit exercises, anti-submarine warfare exercises, naval gunfire support, force protection exercises, man overboard exercises, helicopter crash exercises et cetera. On some of the days we were exercising with two other frigates, HMAS Darwin and HMAS Warramunga. I was also able to experience a number of evolutions in the rigid-hulled inflatable boat, which was thrilling.

I would like to thank Commander Belinda Wood, for sharing her naval experience and her leadership lessons. I would like to thank the XO, Lieutenant Commander Geoff McGinley, who coordinated my visit. I would like to thank Lieutenant Mark Nicholas, who drew the short straw in having to share a cabin with a politician. There were others on the sea ride: Commander Simon Howard, who will shortly take command of his own ship, and young midshipmen who were just starting their careers in the Navy. I would like to thank them for their company and all the crew and the heads and deputy heads of departments, who did so much to make me feel welcome and made the sea ride so interesting.