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Recognising the Australians in Afghanistan

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THE HON DR SHARMAN STONE MP Federal Member for Murray

Wednesday 27 October 2010

Recognising the Australians in Afghanistan

Dr Sharman Stone, Federal Member for Murray, recognised those serving in Afghanistan in parliament this week.

“Australia is a country that always steps up and never expects someone else to do our heavy lifting. We believe in supporting our allies and are there to help keep peace wherever we can, or to fight tyranny when it threatens us or others who can not defend themselves.

“As a nation, we do not glorify war. If you drive around the small towns of the Murray electorate you see the many war memorials and cenotaphs are places of morning loss and remembering those who served, not a place of glorifying big victories or aggression. When we have statues associated with these memorials it is inevitably of a soldier with a bowed head mourning the loss of his mates who died, or remembering the hardships.”

“We are enormously proud of the work, the commitment, the courage, the stoicism and the sacrifice of the Australian defence force personnel who serve in the name of this nation,” Sharman Stone said.

Sharman Stone also paid tribute to the Defence Force men and women she met at Al Minhad, the base in the Arab Emirates where our Australian Army, Navy and Air force are supported as they move into active service in Afghanistan.

“I was hugely impressed with the dignity, professionalism and the stoicism of the Australian men and women.

“Some of them are in supporting roles and will not be going forward into the combat zone but do essential work whether it is in intelligence, in communications, in administration supplying people going forward.

“The non-combat personnel also spend months away from home and make real sacrifices in helping to achieve peace in Afghanistan.

Dr Stone also drew attention to the need to do better in identifying and treating post traumatic stress.

“We need to look carefully at the long term needs of our forces and of our personnel when they return home,” she said.

“We expect so much of our defence forces and are beginning to learn more about the stresses that can affect them if not given the correct support at the time, and in the longer term.

“Australians in Afghanistan are trying very hard to give this war torn country a chance to experience some of the peace and security we take for granted in our country.

“The reputation of Australians at war and in peacekeeping is among the best in the world in terms of our civilian interface and our protection of the rights of others in conflicts,” Sharman Stone said.

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