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Tuesday, 1 March 2011
Page: 797

Senator XENOPHON (12:49 PM) —At the outset I would like to offer my deepest condolences to Sapper Jamie Larcombe’s family and friends. While nothing we can say in this place can take away their grief, I hope the knowledge that our thoughts and prayers are with them can offer some small comfort. I further support the condolences for the life of the Afghan interpreter lost in the same incident.

The loss of a child is something no parent should have to endure and in war too many sons and daughters have been taken early from their parents. Sapper Jamie Larcombe came from Kangaroo Island—a wonderful part of Australia with a tremendous tight-knit community of some 4,000 residents. I know that that entire community has deeply felt the loss of Sapper Larcombe and they will offer all the support and love they can to his family. I hope that Sapper Jamie Larcombe’s family and loved ones will be able to draw strength from this support. It is hard for us to comprehend their loss. Many others have already paid tribute to Sapper Larcombe’s dedication to service, community spirit and love for his family, friends and country. I echo their sentiments.

At the ramp ceremony in Adelaide just a couple of days ago, the Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie, is reported as saying:

… it is another very sad occasion for the Army.

“It gets exponentially harder each time you do it,” he said.

“Whilst I’ve been the Chief of Army, we’ve had 18 of the 23 soldiers die.”

“I’ve got to tell you, it doesn’t get any easier.”

I think that is very telling and powerful from the head of the Army and says something about his compassion for his troops. It is clear that we have lost a remarkable young man and it is truly a tragedy that he has been taken from his family so soon. My deepest sympathies and condolences go out to Sapper Jamie Larcombe’s family and friends and his colleagues in the 1st Combat Engineer Regiment. May he and his sacrifice never be forgotten.