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Address on the occasion of graduation parade of the Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra.

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13 DECEMBER 2007

As Governor-General, it is a pleasure to witness the graduation of the Australian Defence Force Academy

class of 2007 and I’m sure I speak for all in attendance when I say what an impressive parade we’ve been

privileged to view.

I extend special congratulations to Midshipman Daniel Boettger, recipient of the Commander-in-Chief Medal

and to the Service Chiefs’ awardees.

To the families and friends of the graduates, thank you for the vital support role you have played in helping

your loved ones through what is a very challenging, physical and educational introduction to military life.

To the graduates; Sir Winston Churchill once said: “The price of greatness is responsibility.”

This is not some glib catchphrase - rather it very neatly defines the nature of your role as future officers.

Your role is one of the most important in contemporary society. With commissioned rank comes authority,

but with this authority also comes responsibility.

That responsibility in a highly trained, modern military may not always be issuing orders and supervising the

response; that is command. At times it may require you to create an environment where your sailors,

soldiers, airmen or defence civilians can think effectively and work harmoniously - namely the staff. But both

are challenging components of the quality we define as leadership.

You have all decided to serve in the profession-of-arms, a noble profession, and a rewarding one. A

profession that holds great opportunities for those of you who are prepared to work hard.

You have chosen to forgo the comforts of civilian life and pursue a career that may take you far from home

and at times, in to action.

You will face challenging times ahead, but I feel sure that the lessons you have learned at the Academy will


have equipped you to handle such occasions with confidence, compassion and wisdom.

I know that when such moments come, each of you will accept your responsibilities, lead with courage,

conviction and integrity and strive for excellence in all that you undertake.

At this stage of your careers you have been given all the basic ingredients required to be a first class officer

in the ADF.

You have been provided with a superb education, both from the University of NSW and from your military

staff and instructors; an education that covers the liberal arts, technical skills, physical conditioning and

military training.

In today’s defence force such an education is essential.

It is essential because in these times of increasing uncertainty, with new and ill-defined threats to the world

and our nation, you will confront challenges of a special nature.

You may have to deal with the increasing complexities of global terrorism. Alternatively, you may need to

respond to crises arising from the breakdown of law and order through peacekeeping or peacemaking


Or you may be involved in United Nations or coalition-type operations, such as we’ve seen in the two Gulf

Wars and Afghanistan. Increasingly the ADF is also being called upon to assist with the provision of

humanitarian aid including medical support and shelter.

Your training here at the Academy has prepared you well for your future careers and these challenges. Be

confident in your achievements and your ability to operate in an environment that may embrace any one, if

not all of these scenarios.

It will be up to you to maintain the respect that those before you have worked so hard to establish.

As you acquire new skills and deepen your understanding of your Service, you will carry with you the

friendships that you have made here at the Academy. Friendships that will not only support and help you as a

person, but also will serve you well in an operational capacity. Outside family, they may well be the ones you

come to cherish most; so nurture them.

The other highly valuable relationships forged at ADFA are those with colleagues from other countries. And I

would like to congratulate the midshipmen and officer cadet graduates from Malaysia, New Zealand,

Singapore and Thailand.

In conclusion, I know that each of you will do all you can to maintain and enhance the pride that Australians

have in the nation’s Defence Force, and to uphold the finest traditions of your respective services.

If you work hard, your careers will be both professionally rewarding and extremely enjoyable.

I commend you all for your performance to date and wish you the very best in your future endeavours.

Thank you.

Page 2 of 2 Governor General of Australia ~ Speeches