Thanking our Defence and ADF Personnel

Release details

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Related ministers and contacts

The Hon Richard Marles MP

Deputy Prime Minister

Minister for Defence

Media contact

02 6277 7800

The Hon Pat Conroy MP

Minister for Defence Industry

Minister for International Development and the Pacific

Media contact

(02) 6277 7840

General enquiries

The Hon Matt Keogh MP

Minister for Defence Personnel

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Media contact

Stephanie Mathews on 0407 034 485

The Hon Matt Thistlethwaite MP

Assistant Minister for Defence

Assistant Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Assistant Minister for the Republic

Media contact

Ben Leeson on 0404 648 275

Release content

23 December 2023

As 2023 comes to a close, we would like to thank all of those working within Defence and our Australia Defence Force (ADF) personnel on the contribution they make to the defence of our nation.

We would also like to extend our thanks to the families who support our Defence and ADF members.

People are the greatest capability of the ADF and we are eternally grateful for the hard work and sacrifices made by our serving personnel, their APS colleagues, friends and family.

As we head into the break, it is important to acknowledge the efforts of our ADF personnel assisting with the northern Queensland flood efforts, in support of state emergency services. Your willingness and commitment to deploy at short notice to assist communities in need are a true reflection on your professionalism, service and sacrifice.

We are also incredibly grateful to more than 1,000 personnel who will be deployed over the holiday season and are away from their families and loved ones. Their service over this period is greatly valued and critical to Defence’s mission. 

We thank the friends and family feeling the absence of deployed personnel during this period. To those with an empty seat at the dinner table or setting up a video call with family and friends, we truly appreciate the sacrifices you make.

While the holiday season is traditionally a joyful time, for some it can be a difficult time of year, especially for the loved ones of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our nation.

We encourage everyone to look out for their mates and to take advantage of the support services that are available if needed. In the spirit of mateship, please check in with your friends and family.

It has been a big year for Defence, we had so many notable achievements, however, at the forefront of every successful Defence exercise or activity was a willing sailor, soldier, aviator, public servant or officer. We thank you for your service.

Our final exercise of the year will put our F-35A Lightning II aircraft and air traffic controllers to the test as they try to keep pace escorting Santa’s sleigh as he and his reindeer traverse Australian airspace.

We wish everyone in Defence, veterans and their families a safe and happy holiday.


Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling provides 24/7 free confidential crisis support for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families on 1800 011 046 or the Open Arms website

Safe Zone Support provides anonymous counselling on 1800 142 072

Defence All-Hours Support Line provides support for ADF personnel on 1800 628 036 or the Defence Health Portal

Defence Member and Family Helpline provides support for Defence families on 1800 624 608


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