Thank you Chris (Gerginis, Perth Divisional Returning Officer).
I extend my thanks to you and your officers for another competent and impartial administration of an election for the Seat of Perth, as part of the 21 August 2010 Federal election.
I again thank the people of Perth for the continued confidence and trust they have shown in me by re-electing me as their local Federal Member for the seventh consecutive occasion, with an effective margin of 56%.
The 2010 – 2013 Parliamentary term will see Perth retained in Labor hands for a continuous period of 30 years, commencing with the 1983 election of my predecessor, Dr Ric Charlesworth, the Member for Perth from 1983 to 1993.
This is comfortably the longest continuous period over which Labor has held the seat of Perth since Federation.
Once again I commit myself to three years of hard work as the local Federal Member for Perth, working in and with our local community.
As well, I was honoured and privileged on Tuesday 14 September to be sworn in as Australia’s 27th Defence Minister since the end of World War Two, and the eighth Defence Minister since Federation from the great State of Western Australia.
John Forrest, Member for Swan, was Minister for Defence between 1901 and 1903.
Senator Sir George Foster Pearce was a Western Australian Senator from 1901 for 37 years. He was Minister for Defence on four separate occasions: 1908 – 1909, 1910 – 1913, 1914 – 1921, and 1932 – 1934.
Australia took its first steps to obtain aircraft for its defence when Pearce was Minister for Defence. RAAF Pearce, the principal Air Force base in Australia’s west, bears his name.
Albert Green, Member for Kalgoorlie, was Minister for Defence from 1929 to 1931.
John Curtin, Member for Fremantle, was Minister for Defence between 1941 and 1945, while also Prime Minister. As Australia’s Prime Minister during the Second World War, he was responsible for the creation of Australia’s Alliance with the United States.
John Curtin is a hero in Western Australia, not because he lived in Cottesloe, but because through his forging of the US Alliance, he saved our nation at its moment of greatest peril.
Today, this Alliance remains the bedrock of our defence, strategic and security arrangements.
Paul Hasluck, Member for Curtin, was Minister for Defence from 1963 to 1964. Hasluck was also Foreign Minister from 1964 to 1969, a privilege I share with him as a Western Australian.
Shane Paltridge, a Western Australia Senator from 1951 to 1966, succeeded Paul Hasluck as Minister for Defence from 1964 and 1966.
Kim Beazley Junior, Member for Swan and then Member for Brand, was Minister for Defence from 1984 to 1990. His Labor Party nickname “the Bomber” is a mark of the publicly-acknowledged enthusiasm he had for the role.
It was my great pleasure as Minister for Foreign Affairs to recommend the appointment of Kim Beazley as our Ambassador to the United States last year. In Washington he is applying his experience, expertise and energy to uphold and enlarge John Curtin’s legacy, the US Alliance.
There is, of course, no greater responsibility for Government than the defence of Australia and Australia’s national security interests.
With responsibility for an area of over 27 million square kilometres, but with less than one per cent of the world’s population, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) has to defend our people, our territory, and our interests.
In Afghanistan, the Government is maintaining Australia’s commitment to the United Nations-mandated International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operation. It is fundamentally important to Australia’s security interests that international terrorists be denied a safe haven in that country.
Closer to home, the ADF plays a vital role in border security, providing personnel and assets to manage our borders and protect our northern sea approaches.
The ADF also contributes to multinational forces in defence of security and stability in our neighbourhood and further afield.
Australia has peace keeping commitments in East Timor and the Solomon Islands, and makes a substantial contribution to peacekeeping efforts around the world.
The ADF also provides assistance during natural disasters and humanitarian emergencies at home and abroad.
Defence provided assistance after the bushfires in Victoria in January 2009, and has been assisting the response to the recent floods there.
In Padang, Indonesia in October 2009 following the terrible earthquake, I saw for myself the assistance provided by the ADF. The ADF is now part of the international effort to assist Pakistan during its worst floods since partition.
Perth and Western Australia are important locations for the Australian Defence Force. About 4,500 Defence personnel, based mainly at HMAS Stirling, Karrakatta and Swanbourne Barracks, and RAAF Pearce, call Western Australia home.
Many of those have served or are currently serving in operations abroad, including in Afghanistan. Australia is thankful for their service, as it is thankful to all those who serve the nation's defence. They are part of an Australian tradition going back more than a century.
We honour and remember those who have made sacrifice for the nation.
Just as I am privileged and honoured to have Ministerial responsibility for the ADF and its personnel, so too am I honoured to be returned as the Member for Perth. I look forward to again representing the residents of the electorate of Perth.
Printer Friendly Version