TRANSCRIPT: CONDOLENCE MOTION FOR CORPORAL SCOTT SMITH IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TRANSCRIPTION: PROOF COPY E & OE
DATE: 29 OCTOBER 2012
I rise to associate myself with the remarks of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, both in expressing condolences to the family, friends and mates of Corporal Scott James Smith and also in expressing support for our mission in Afghanistan.
Scott Smith was born in the Barossa Valley, in South Australia, in 1988, as the Prime Minister said, our bicentennial year. He joined the Army in February 2006 and, following completion of his initial employment training, was posted to the 1st Combat Engineer Regiment, Darwin. In 2008 Corporal Smith was posted to the then Incident Response Regiment, now the Special Operations Engineer Regiment, as a search operator. Corporal Smith was based with the Special Operations Engineer Regiment, at Holsworthy Barracks, near Sydney.
Corporal Smith is our 39th fatality overall in Afghanistan, and our 7th fatality this year. We have also suffered 242 wounded, in total, with 29 wounded this year. He is the 19th fatality from the Special Operations Task Group. This includes five members of the SAS, the Special Air Service Regiment, 11 Commandos and three members of the Special Operations Engineer Regiment, which, as I have indicated, was formerly known as the Incident Response Regiment.
Corporal Smith was on his second operational deployment to Afghanistan, following an earlier deployment to the Solomon Islands. He had received a number of awards, including the Australian Active Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Australian Service Medal and the NATO International Stabilisation Assistance Force Medal.
Corporal Smith's family described the Army as Scott's second home—as his family away from home. Corporal Smith's unit describes Scott as genuine, honest and dedicated. He was an exceptional young soldier, and that has been widely and broadly acknowledged. He possessed all the qualities and the charisma of a great junior leader. He was destined for a great Army career. His loss is and will be deeply felt.
At this terrible time we must continue to be clear sighted about our mission in Afghanistan. Our objective—our mission—is to prevent Afghanistan from again becoming a safe haven for terrorists. We will not be in Afghanistan forever, and transition to Afghan-led security responsibility in Uruzgan has commenced and is on track. One of the four infantry Kandaks, or Battalions, that we are mentoring is now capable of independent operations, and there is an expectation that the remaining three will also commence independent operations by the end of this year.
Our condolences go to Corporal Scott Smith's family; his partner, Liv; his mother, Katrina; his sister, Roxanne; and his father, Murray. His contribution and his sacrifice will always be remembered. Lest we forget.