TRANSCRIPT: CONDOLENCE MOTION FOR LANCE CORPORAL MERVYN MCDONALD AND PRIVATE NATHANAEL GALAGHER IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TRANSCRIPTION: PROOF COPY E & OE
DATE: 10 SEPTEMBER 2012
I again associate myself with the remarks of the Acting Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, in expressing condolences to the families, friends and mates of Lance Corporal Mervyn McDonald and Private Nathanael Galagher and in again expressing support for our mission in Afghanistan. Tragically, Lance Corporal Mervyn McDonald and Private Nathanael Galagher were killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan on 30 August this year, bringing about, as the Acting Prime Minister has said, our worst combat day since Vietnam. Both were members of the Commandos and, as a consequence, members of the Special Operations Task Group. That task group has now lost 18 members in Afghanistan, 11 from the Commandos, five from the Special Air Service Regiment in Western Australia and two from the Incident Response Regiment. In addition to that being a tragedy in its own right, members would appreciate that any notion of helicopter crashes and Australian Special Forces brings back very deep pain and very terrible memories.
Lance Corporal McDonald was born and grew up in Carnarvon, in my own state of Western Australia. He joined the Army in 1999 and was posted to the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, 1RAR, and in 2008 he was posted to the then 4th Battalion, the Commandos, now the 2nd Commando Regiment. His family has a military history, and Lance Corporal McDonald was a highly professional soldier. He was quiet and humble and always, often unnecessarily, deflected credit onto his mates rather than himself. He was a very experienced soldier with multiple overseas deployments. He was on his sixth tour of Afghanistan.
Lance Corporal McDonald and his fiancée, Rachael, were due to be married next year. In the words of Rachael, 'Merv would have been a fantastic husband and a wonderful dad.' He is survived not just by Rachael but by his mother, Myrna, his stepfather and three brothers. His mother lives south of Perth. Percy tells me that not only was Mervyn a proud professional soldier; he was a proud Western Australian who delighted in returning home for leave and recreation.
Nathanael Galagher joined the Army in 2007 and was posted to 1RAR and to the 2nd Commando Regiment in 2011. He had a can-do attitude, always wanted to get the job done and took everything in his stride. He was an enthusiastic young soldier, well respected by his mates in the Regiment and by his superiors. He was on his second deployment to Afghanistan. He is survived by his partner, Jessie; his parents, Wayne and Sally; and his sister, Elanor. He was looking forward to becoming a father, and we honour his partner's, Jessie's, pledge that his son will understand 'the wonderful man who his dad was'.
Lance Corporal McDonald and Private Galagher were also great mates. They said that they would come home together, and they have. Their contribution and their sacrifice will always be remembered.
Lest we forget.