Minister for Defence - Speech - Royal Military College Graduation Parade

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The Hon Kevin Andrews MP

Minister for Defence

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16 June 2015

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Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. It is a great honour to attend a graduation parade for the first time and it’s an even greater privilege to do so today as the Reviewing Officer.

Eighty-nine about to be commissioned officers stand before you, including one Royal Australian Air Force officer and six international candidates from the UAE, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Pakistan.

To the young men and women here from around the world, let me say this: your presence here today affirms Australia’s commitment to an active involvement in the stability of our region and our world.

I hope that the friendships you have made, and the understanding you have gained of Australia, and the appreciation we have gained of your countries, will be maintained.
These men and women represent the best of their respective services and nations.

To our graduands, I commend you on your dress and drill and I congratulate you all on your individual and collective achievements to reach this significant milestone.

In this, the Anzac Centenary year, we reflect on our nation’s military history and the achievements of those men and women who gave honour and respect to the Rising Sun badge; those men and women – and their families – who over a century have served and sacrificed,

I am reminded of the first class of Staff Cadets who, like you, undertook their military training here at the Royal Military College Duntroon.

Like you, those first Staff Cadets learnt the art of leadership and the importance of integrity as they worked to receive their Commission as an Officer of the Australian Imperial Force.

Their studies were expedited during World War I, so that the first officers who marched off this parade ground left Canberra to join the ANZACs on the beach at Gallipoli; in the muddy trenches across the Western Front and the battlefields of Africa and the Middle East.

They represent our past. You represent the future. The Australian Army’s reputation rests firmly on your shoulders.

Carry this responsibility with pride. You have earned the honour with hard work and you will retain it by living Army’s core values; courage, initiative, respect and teamwork. These values are reflected in the Royal Military College of Australia’s charter and demonstrated by aspiring to high ideals and the pursuit of excellence.

Duntroon’s world class reputation and the achievements of its graduates are attributed to the outstanding quality instructors and staff. I acknowledge your commitment to the Royal Military College and your dedication to our staff cadets. You have instilled in our officers a sense of duty, loyalty and service to our nation.

Each graduating class is faced with new and contemporary challenges yet the standard and quality of our Army personnel remains a constant.

Since my appointment as Minister for Defence in December, Australia has deployed on new training missions in Iraq as well as humanitarian operations in Queensland, Vanuatu and Nepal.

I do not know what challenges await you, but I know you will put your duty first and look after the soldiers our nation will entrust to your command.

Finally, looking around today, it is clear that you are well supported by your families and loved ones. To them, on your behalf, I say thank you.

The truth is that without their love and support, you may not have been able to achieve your commissioning today.

It is their ongoing support that will sustain you along the journey ahead.

Congratulations and thank you.

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