CANBERRA - 29 November 2021
I'd like to thank the members for Stirling and Berowra for bringing this motion forward.
Like the member for Stirling, I've been the beneficiary of the skills, education, training and experience that you get when you're a member of the Australian Defence Force, and it really is first-class training.
There are so many great careers in the Australian Defence Force, but it's also the attitudes as well as the skills and the knowledge that make them special.
The Australian Defence Force is unlike any military body found around the world in that we're a small professional force with a small professional reserve with a huge task to defend such a huge continent with our substantial land borders, surrounded by massive oceans.
So being such a relatively small force, we must have the best people and train them to the highest standards, impeccably high standards. And I believe that we do.
Adherence to those standards is what conditions what our Defence Force looks like and the great outcomes that it can achieve, and the impacts that our forces can have both here and abroad, like what's happening in the Solomon Islands right now, directly related to the training that ADF members get during their careers.
Our people are carefully selected initially and then carefully, vigorously trained.
It's not for the faint-hearted, and that's why we select people to make sure that we have got the right people that have got the right attributes to do this training to defend our country and our interests.
The defence of Australia rests upon many things: the kit we've got, the technology, the capabilities, but also the posture that we take in in our region and around the world.
So we need our people to be exemplars.
We need them to have the best skills and training so that they can apply their craft with the kit that we procure for them.
So their careers are really fantastic opportunities for them as individuals, but so important to the defence of our nation and our interests.
Without their personal dedication, we would not be the country that we are today.
I'm often told by business owners and operators that veterans are highly sought after in recruitment because of these acquired skills, attitudes and knowledge, education, and experience.
And that should increase, I think, in time. No one likes the narrative of the broken veteran.
It is true that we needed to have a royal commission into veteran and defence suicide because we needed a systemic analysis of where some of our patriots are falling through the gaps and that is underway, and that is a good thing.
But overall, veterans serve with distinction and then go on and use what they've learned in that ADF career to apply out in Civvy Street, as we used to call it when were in the uniform.
So it is troubling that veterans can struggle post-service life.
But I think what we've found overwhelmingly that is if an Australian in one of the forces can transition as seamlessly as possible from their ADF career into the next career, then we get much better outcomes for them and their families.
So I just thank those that are speaking on this bill, because you're obviously interested in this important issue for our nation.
I think it's going to become even more important into the future as we face challenges far and wide.