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Remark to troops, families and guests at the civic reception following the welcome home parade for the Overwatch Battle Group (West) and the Australian Army Training Team - Iraq.



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Prime Minister of Australia

Speech

Remark to Troops, Families and Guests at the Civic reception following the Welcome Home Parade for the Overwatch Battle Group (West) and the Australian Army Training Team - Iraq, Brisbane

28 June 2008

E&OE

Today the Australian nation says thank you to you the men and women of the Australian Defence Force.

Today the Australian nation says thank you to the men and women of the Australian Defence Force for your service in Iraq.

And I can say right now, also, my thanks to the city of Brisbane for making you so welcome today in this welcome home parade. Thank you, Brisbane.

And to be in this great city, in this great city hall, my Mum told me during the war that when she was a nurse at the Mater Hospital, this was the best place to come and meet a man in uniform at a dance.

And she was right. It’s the place to be.

There is no higher calling than to wear the uniform of Australia.

You are the proud inheritors of the Anzac tradition. And, that tradition now reaches back a hundred years.

You, like them, are responding to the nation’s call.

You, like them, have learned the profession or arms.

And you, like them, are men and women of courage.

And in your lives and in your service, you exhibit these great values of the Australian Defence Force, and the nation honours you.

As the nation thanks you today, for your service in Iraq, the nation also thanks those continuing to serve in Iraq, in Afghanistan, across the Middle East, and elsewhere in the world.

You have served, and they continue to serve, in dangerous theatres.

They serve in difficult theatres.

They serve in bloody theatres.

And the nation must never forget that you, the men and women of the defence force, here today, and those serving abroad today, continue to put yourself in harms way.

That requires courage, and it’s that courage we salute today as well.

Today we therefore thank those who have served in Iraq.

Today we thank those who continue to serve in Iraq, and other theatres abroad.

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But today the nation also thanks those who make that service possible - you the families of the Australian Defence Force.

The Mums and the Dads. The brothers, the sisters, the wives, the husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends, partners. Grannies. And the flock of kids that I see in front of me.

You make it possible for our men and women in uniform to serve because you are their lifeline to Australia.

I honour you the families of the Australian defence community.

The Australian nation must remain vigilant about its national security. The threats from our security remain real, and the Australian Defence Force is the frontline our nation has in meeting those threats. Which is why the defence of our country must remain strong.

Freedom is not for free. Freedom comes at a price. And you are our frontline in the defence of our freedom. And for that, I thank you.

As I have been (inaudible) in Iraq, on one and two occasions, and seen how you have worked in the field, can I also say this, you are not just soldiers, proudly bearing the tradition of the profession of arms in this country, you are more than soldiers. You are ambassadors of Australia.

And I have seen you take the great name of Australia to that theatre, to that troubled land, and advance the great name of Australia even further.

So yours has been a mission not just in uniform. Yours has been a mission beyond the uniform as well. Advancing our great name as a country prepared to lend a helping hand to those in need. And for that, we thank you.

Soldiers of Australia, and ambassadors of Australia, I extend therefore to you on behalf of the Government of the nation, and on behalf of the people of the nation, the thanks of the nation.

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