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Monday, 17 June 1996
Page: 1604

Senator CRANE(4.07 p.m.) —I too would like to join with other senators in supporting the motion moved by Senator Hill today. I will just make one or two observations. Virtually everything that needs to be said has been said with regard to this motion. I associate myself with it in acknowledging the passing of the 18 men, eight of whom were Western Australians, in the preparation and training for service to their country.

Arguably, the SAS is the most elite of all the various services that engage in this type of training and activity, and that has been acknowledged in many areas. My association directly with the SAS, unlike Senator Evans's, has been on the cricket field, not on the football field. Once again, I can say that on the cricket field they are very well trained, extremely fit and worthy opponents.

In addition to what has already been said, I particularly want to acknowledge the speed with which details of those involved in this unfortunate tragedy were released to friends and loved ones. I want to acknowledge the speed with which the Department of Defence responded to my contact and to commend the manner in which it handled the situation. As well as the next of kin and close loved ones—wives, girlfriends and children—there is a ring of friends associated with those involved in this tragedy. I was in outback Western Australia at the end of last week and I know there were people out there wondering who had been involved and what had occurred. It is important to acknowledge the quick response of the department to their request for details.

I also offer my prayers and sympathy to the families involved. I acknowledge the courage of those who took part in the rescue mission. Their actions highlighted what people can do in the depths of adversity when called upon to act.