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Address on the occasion of graduation parade of the Royal Military College, Duntroon.

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11 DECEMBER 2007

Good morning, and very well done on a splendid parade.

As Commander-in-Chief of the Australian Defence Force - and a proud 1958 infantry graduate of this College

- I am delighted to be invited back to Duntroon to congratulate the graduating class of 2007 on its

achievements, and in particular Senior Under Officer Ryan Sharp on being awarded the Sword of Honour and

Colour Sergeant Jarrod Turner for winning the Queen’s Medal.

I extend a warm welcome to families, friends and spouses who have provided the cadets with support and

encouragement throughout the demanding course at the Royal Military College.

I thank you, and I ask you to continue to support them throughout their careers.

From experience, I know that a career as an Army Officer is demanding - not only on the serving member,

but the family as well.

However for service families, there are also real bonuses in terms of places seen and lifelong friendships


To the graduates, I know I speak for everyone here in saying that you should feel very proud of your


Today marks the end of your training at the Royal Military College and the beginning of so much more.

The College has prepared you for your career as an officer in an environment that has promoted learning,

leadership and integrity.

You have been inspired with high ideals and been encouraged to pursue excellence as a lifelong requirement.

You have been inculcated with a sense of duty, loyalty and service to the nation. You leave this magnificent

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establishment well prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.

The presence of graduates from New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Singapore and Tonga affirms

Australia’s commitment to an active involvement in the region - and we wish those graduates every success

in the armies of their own countries.

I hope the friendships you have made - and the mutual understanding gained from studying in Australia -

will stand you in good stead.

You are about to commence one of the best jobs in the world.

You are about to “command” the best soldiers in the world.

Enjoy it. Make the most of the experience.

At various points in your career, you will all be physically, morally and intellectually challenged.

Have no doubt that if you were not up to that challenge, you would not be graduating today. Your job as an

officer is to lead, and for this you receive commissioned rank.

But the rank you have does not automatically entitle you to respect. You can earn that only through

professional capacity and personal example.

This College, and the Army’s teaching and training institutions, take very good care of the former, but that of

itself is not enough.

Personal example in how you dress, in how you behave, in how you care for those under your command, in

how and what you communicate, and in how you participate, will help decide your true worth as a leader.

And you will need to work hard at it, because increasingly you will find many of your soldiers just as well

educated as you. Hence the importance of professional capacity and personal example if you are to be

successful junior leaders.

It is a lifetime’s business of study, practice and learning from mistakes.

The past decade has been one of the more active periods in the history of the ADF. Graduates of RMC have

served with distinction in the Gulf, Papua New Guinea, Bougainville, East Timor, Afghanistan, Iraq, the Middle

East, Israel, Sinai, various states of Africa and the Solomon Islands.

Graduates have also provided humanitarian support to tsunami struck regions of South East Asia and in the

mountainous regions of Kashmir.

The ably led servicemen and women of the ADF who have been involved in these deployments have served

with distinction and been highly commended for their professionalism.

The future in our region, and in other areas of the world, remains uncertain and volatile.

In meeting those uncertainties, you can reasonably anticipate that the ADF will continue to be involved in

providing much the same support to what can be termed its three main security objectives.

First, dealing with the continuing threat of global terrorism.

Second, responding to law and order - and institutional breakdown-type crises closer to home - such as East

Timor and the Solomon Islands.

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And, third, operating at the higher end of the war-fighting spectrum as part of coalition or United Nations

forces - the two Gulf wars and Afghanistan being recent examples.

Indeed, you might have to operate in an environment embracing all three scenarios, in the same campaign,

and most probably at short notice.

Your commissioning into the Army is occurring at a very exciting time for the ADF.

Those of you going to Armoured Corps will benefit from the introduction of the new M1 Abrams tank.

The aspiring pilots among you will fly magnificent aircraft in the Tiger Armed Reconnaissance helicopter,

Blackhawk, Chinook and the NH90.

And the mechanised battalion troop commanders will have a much more capable M113 and ASLAV as their

primary combat vehicles.

There are likely to be similar improvements in artillery, communications and the Army’s capacity to fight

around the clock.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are now an important component of the Army inventory.

For female graduates, the opportunities for you are continuing to expand and - depending on your career

aspirations - improve.

This is a positive step, and deserved, as you have proven that you have what it takes by completing the

same training as your male classmates. It was thus pleasing to note that Major General Cossan has recently

been appointed as the Army’s first female General Officer.

Let me conclude by sincerely congratulating you all on your graduation.

You follow in the footsteps of great men and women who have set the standards of duty, courage and

integrity for you. You will add to their proud heritage.

Be confident that you are well prepared for your future.

Continue to learn, lead your soldiers with confidence and integrity.

Continue to pursue high ideals and excellence.

Maintain a sense of duty, loyalty and service to the nation. And enjoy the challenges and opportunities in

having one of the best jobs in the world.

Well done to you all, and good luck!

Thank you.

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