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Monday, 30 November 2015
Page: 14132


Mrs PRENTICE (Ryan) (18:36): We refer to ourselves as the lucky country, and indeed we are. But there is another well-known saying: you make your own luck. Just as we make our own luck, we earn our own freedoms. In our country, there is a statistically small number of men and women who earn our freedoms, who keep us lucky and who, if you will, protect us in times of trouble, both at home and abroad. They are the ones who run towards a fire, not away from it. They are the ones who are willing to be covered with blood or mud, or wade through freezing, fast water, or stand in the blazing sun for hours, or dangle from a rope over a cliff or out of a helicopter. They are our emergency services and our military personnel and, lucky for us, they are the best in the world.

Many of my colleagues have spoken about the current spate of terrorism around the world. I have no intention of mentioning the name of any terrorist organisation today. I choose not to give them the satisfaction of being the focus of my contribution to this debate. Instead, I choose to highlight how the attacks in the last month in Bangladesh, Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Somalia, Lebanon and, of course, France, bring to the forefront of our minds those members of our community who must experience firsthand the aftermath of such atrocities—our front line of emergency services, security agencies and military forces. To use the words of Winston Churchill: they are the few.

I choose to place on the record in this place my support and admiration for the more than 7,000 men and women of the Australian Defence Force who live in the electorate of Ryan. I choose to send my best wishes to their families and their friends—those who are waiting for their loved ones to come home from deployment, where they are serving on our behalf and are working to eradicate those who would harm others to further their tangled ideologies and agendas. I thank the volunteers and staff of humanitarian organisations who live and work in refugee camps, helping the dispossessed, the victims of war and/or oppression—often from their own people. I thank the overseas post and embassy staff who live in countries where they themselves may become targets while assisting their fellow citizens, just because they are Australians.

I choose to thank the men and women of Border Force, along with our Navy and Airforce, who work at our ports and airports and around our expansive coastline, keeping a vigilant eye on our safety and on who and what comes to our country. I also thank the hundreds of staff at ASIO, ASIS, AFP, Special Forces and DFAT, who, day in and day out, analyse threats and make potentially life or death decisions to counteract schemes that we will never know existed, hopefully. I thank our fire and rescue services, who, of course, douse fires but who are also ready to prise someone out of a car or a building, to lift a train carriage or to clear a tunnel that has collapsed. I choose to recognise the ambulance officers who, as well as saving lives, live with the possibility of becoming secondary targets themselves when attending to the injured in a violent situation of any kind—domestic or terrorism related. And, finally, I thank the police—the people we call first and just assume they will come, and they do. Their families live daily with the knowledge that every day they go to work is a day that they may not come home in one piece.

These are the dedicated, highly trained and motivated members of our community who reinforce my belief in our lucky country and, indeed, make it a reality. These are the people who, should the worst happen, choose to be the first on the scene. Every day we should give thanks for their diligence and dedication, which ensures that we can continue to enjoy our way of life. May we never need to test their resolve.