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Monday, 29 November 2004
Page: 20

Ms BURKE (1:48 PM) —Mr Speaker, congratulations on your elevation to this role. I rise today to say congratulations also to the Victorian nominee for the Australian of the Year—Captain Rodney Cox, who is an extraordinary human being. In his 28 years of life, he has managed to put in an enormous amount. Sadly, Rodney is no longer a constituent of mine—since the recent redistribution of electorates—but I got to know Rodney very well when he was the resident captain of the reservist Army barracks in Huntingdale. Rodney then went to serve in Timor with INTERFET, and he was unfortunately involved in the Bali bombing. For this event Rodney has been recognised by the Army.

He then decided that he needed a quieter life. He managed to do six weeks of his articles and then took a posting with the UN, where, yes, you guessed it, he was blown up in Iraq. He has been nominated for a bravery award, and I hope he is recognised for that service. Rodney has left Iraq, but he is now serving in Kabul in Afghanistan, in the area of security. It is a very risky pursuit, but he is doing it with absolute fervour and his normal dedication. Rodney is an exceptional person. I fervently hope that he will be made the Australian of the Year, because he sums up what we need to hold near and dear in our lives at the moment—mateship, commitment to your country. I congratulate him on his Victorian nomination and hope that we will get to congratulate him on Australia Day.