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Tuesday, 15 June 2010
Page: 3241

Senator JOYCE (Leader of the Nationals in the Senate) (3:43 PM) —I rise to concur with the remarks of Senator Faulkner and Senator Johnston on behalf of the two Queenslanders—though one was born in South Australia—Sapper Jacob Moerland and Sapper Darren Smith. It is a very sad day for the people of Gayndah and Burnett, and there will be another service at Ashgrove. The families need to know that the whole nation is incredibly proud of the service their sons gave and that we have the most immense respect for the supreme sacrifice they have given in laying down their lives as they engaged with the enemy on foreign soil that so we do not have to engage with them here.

Dealing with IEDs, which are such insidious devices, as was ably extolled by both Senator Johnston and Senator Faulkner, requires the utmost bravery from a person who knows the imminent danger they are putting themselves in. As they tried to disarm these devices, they would have known exactly the threat that their lives were under. I want also to acknowledge the camaraderie and the great connection there would have been with the dog, Herbie, who also lost his life. There is a special relationship between serving members and these animals that happily go forward with them.

There is great sorrow that will be felt by the families of both these young men, Sandra, Robert, Bethany, Laura, Jacob’s fiancee, Kezia, Darren’s wife, Angela, and father Graeme. Also there are all the serving Defence members at Enoggera Barracks who would be feeling the loss of one of their colleagues and one of their mates from the 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment.

These people know that though these lives are an immense loss to the family there was no waste. This was for an incredible purpose—that is, for the safety of our country. We can be here and enjoy the freedoms we have while others put themselves in peril willingly, with pride, so that we can be safe. Across the parliament we offer the family our bipartisan support and that will continue on every day as we remember the sacrifice that they have put in. We will be forever grateful for the work they have done. Our thoughts and prayers remain with these families in these extremely trying times.