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Wednesday, 15 August 2012
Page: 8828

Mrs MOYLAN (Pearce) (11:22): Sadly, on Monday 2 July 2012, Australia lost one of it finest young men when Sergeant Blaine Flower Diddams was killed in action in Afghanistan. Sergeant Diddams was doing what he was trained to do as a Special Air Service Regiment patrol commander in the Special Operations Task Group. He was deployed many times to several countries including Somalia, East Timor, the Solomon Islands and Afghanistan, and to Perth during CHOGM.

He was a career soldier and, indeed, he was on his seventh tour of duty to Afghanistan since 2001. In his short life, he had received many honours and awards. Those honours and awards include the Australian Act of Service Medal with Clasp Somalia, International Forces East Timor Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Australian Service Medal with Clasp Solomon Islands, Defence Long Service Medal, the Australian Defence Medal, NATO ISAF Medal, Meritorious Unit Citation, Infantry Combat Badge and Returned from Active Service Badge.

It was a sad and deeply moving occasion to attend the funeral service of Blaine Diddams and to hear the outpouring of love and affection from his family and friends. Although Blaine Diddams was born in Canberra, he was a member of the Special Operations Task Group from the Perth based Air Services Regiment, and he and his family lived in my electorate of Pearce.

I was not privileged to have personally known Sergeant Diddams but I did know some of his colleagues in the SAS and I know that he was held in the highest regard by all those who knew him and worked with him. I felt deeply moved by the tributes to Sergeant Diddams and the depth of concern his friends showed towards his family. Everyone who spoke at the funeral talked of his zest for life and he certainly achieved much and did a lot of living in his too-short life. I know his death was deeply felt by the SAS Regiment in Swanbourne. I express my deepest sympathy to the regiment and to the many other SAS colleagues who came from all over Australia to pay tribute to their mate.

Blaine Diddams was devoted to his loving family and is deeply mourned by them. Their loss is profound. Once again, I extend my heartfelt condolences to his wife, Toni-Ann; his children, Elle-Lou and Henry; his parents, Peter and Cate; and his sisters and brothers, Nikki, Sian, Christian and Luke. Lest we forget.