Assistant Minister for Defence - Stuart Robert MP to walk with blinded Australian soldier

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The Hon Stuart Robert MP

Assistant Minister for Defence

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22 September 2013

Assistant Minister for Defence Stuart Robert MP will accompany blinded Australian soldier Private Liam Haven for the final stretch of Liam’s “One Foot Forward” walk from Sydney to Canberra.

Completing one of his first official duties as Assistant Minister for Defence, Mr Robert will set out with Liam from the Royal Military College – Duntroon at 8:30am (AEST) tomorrow for the five kilometre walk to the Australian War Memorial, to mark the final stop in a gruelling journey that has seen Liam walk more than 350 kilometres in two weeks.

“Liam’s story has united thousands of Australians and it is my privilege to accompany him for the final section of his walk,” Mr Robert said.

“His courage, determination and initiative towards his own rehabilitation and recovery is inspiring. Equally inspiring is that he has undertaken this walk not for himself, but to raise awareness and funds for Soldier On and Guide Dogs Victoria.

“Liam has received tremendous support throughout this walk, from whole communities getting behind him, to people cheering him on as they drive past. I am equally determined to get behind our Defence personnel. They deserve our respect and we owe them our support.”

Private Haven was blinded by an Improvised Explosive Device blast on a routine patrol in Iraq in 2008, losing one eye and retaining only two per cent of his sight in the other.

He commenced his “One Foot Forward” walk on 10 September 2013 from Holsworthy Barracks in Sydney with the help of his guide dog, Omen, and a team of supporters and volunteers.

On arrival at the Australian War Memorial, Liam will perform “Kirby’s Song”, a piece he wrote on guitar in honour of his mate Private Grant Kirby, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in August 2010. The song is symbolic for being Liam’s final farewell to his mate and also because Liam taught himself to play the guitar as part of his rehabilitation.

Media contacts:

Office of the Assistant Minister for Defence – Richard Briedis, 0477 391 174

Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999

Soldier On – Dion Pretorius, 0418 281 777,

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