Page 362 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 15 February 2005

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During his time with the United Nations, Adam developed a personal passion for the work of the organisation, seeing it as an opportunity to help others less fortunate than himself.

This is the side of Adam Dunning we have heard much of since his death—his caring nature and his respect for other people. In 2003 he joined the Australian Protective Service, which had just become an operating branch of the Australian Federal Police. He began his duties with that organisation at federal parliament. In October 2004 he received another opportunity to serve overseas with the Australian Federal Police as part of the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands, known as RAMSI. The RAMSI mission has been widely praised for its impact on the Solomon Islands and its people. The statistics are staggering, with thousands of weapons seized and thousands of arrests made and charges laid in an effort to stamp out violence and corruption.

During his valedictory speech, Commissioner Keelty recalled an incident where Adam Dunning disarmed a man carrying a pistol—which turned out to be a replica—near the Honiara Magistrates Court. The commissioner praised Adam’s ability to quickly and efficiently defuse the situation in front of a crowd of onlookers. Adam Dunning was awarded a commendation recognising his efforts. On 22 December the cowardly act by a gunman took away a life full of potential. The death of Adam Dunning is also a significant loss for the people of the Solomon Islands, who are pushing for peace in their nation. I hope his loss will further inspire Solomon Islanders to hold steadfast in their vision for a better life. In many nations around the world Australians are putting themselves in harm’s way in the hope of bringing stability, democracy and peace to these host nations.

Adam Dunning’s family can take comfort in the fact that the nation, and this community in particular, mourn with them. This was no more evident than when hundreds of Canberrans lined Anzac Parade to farewell him as his funeral cortege passed. As the Solomon Islands continue down their road to reform, its people will certainly remember Adam Dunning as one of the heroes who helped them along the way.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella—Leader of the Opposition): Mr Speaker, on behalf of the opposition I also wish to extend our condolences and best wishes to Adam Dunning’s family—to his parents, Michael and Christine, and his sisters, Sarah and Emma, to his girlfriend, Elise Wiscombe and, in particular, to his AFP colleagues—those still serving in the Solomons and those here in Canberra—and his former colleagues of the Royal Australian Air Force.

Adam Dunning was an Australian and a Canberran. He was proud of his service to his country, first in his defence force role and then as a police officer and, I think particularly, in his role as peacekeeper. His commitment, his bravery, his resourcefulness and just his general caring for his colleagues comes through in everything that I have read about him. One of his friends, Paul Stewart, said, “Adam was the kind of person who would give you the shirt off his back if you asked him. He was that sort of guy.” That was the sort of tribute that just flowed from everyone who had either met Adam or knew of him. His participation firstly in Timor and then in the Solomons is an indication of a young man who had a much bigger view of the world, and he will be remembered for that.

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