Page 1086 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 25 March 2015

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I know those serving make enormous sacrifices, in some cases the ultimate sacrifice of their own lives. Their families, as has been mentioned, often make significant sacrifices as well. They sometimes miss the birth of their children; they miss birthdays and anniversaries; they miss their children’s first days at school. In our own school and in many schools across Canberra I particularly acknowledge the work of defence school transition aides in a number of schools who work with the children of defence families as they transition into new schools and find themselves in cities and towns all across Australia—as diverse as Canberra, Townsville, Darwin and Puckapunyal.

The Australian Defence Force, through the Defence Community Organisation, works hard to ensure that families are supported as they move around the country every few years. I also acknowledge Defence Families Australia, the official body appointed by the government to represent the views of defence families. They advocate strongly for the experience of defence families and for support for them.

I also acknowledge the ex-service organisations who work with veterans of current and past missions. The grief and trauma veterans experience are often not obvious. In particular, those suffering one of the most hidden of injuries, post traumatic stress disorder, are now more likely through the work of these organisations to be acknowledged and receive the support they need to fully recover.

Before joining the Assembly I spent many years working with ADF personnel and civilians in my roles in the New South Wales Police Force, the Australian Federal Police and the commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department. Many serve alongside law enforcement and other public servants in offshore missions. The long history of service and professionalism of so many ADF personnel will always stay with me. Their sacrifice and service ethos is obvious. I was especially pleased to work alongside women serving in the ADF and I am very heartened to see the cultural transformation underway to improve gender equality in the ADF, which can only strengthen the organisation and our country.

Much of this work in places like East Timor, Afghanistan, Sudan and the Solomon Islands was to maintain peace, build communities and build vital infrastructure. The work of many ADF personnel is in community and infrastructure building and in furthering relationships with local communities. Although the Anzac spirit is undeniably linked with Defence Force personnel, it is also a commemoration of peaceful activity and community and nation building.

As a dual Australian and New Zealand citizen, the Anzac spirit has special significance for me. Australia and New Zealand have a shared history in the special Anzac centenary year, a history that makes citizens of both countries feel at home with each another. There is nothing quite like the relationship between Australians and New Zealanders. To close, I acknowledge the ongoing and profound contribution of Defence Force personnel and defence families to the Australian community in this special Anzac centenary year.

MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (10.54), in reply: In closing, I thank all members for their support. It is greatly appreciated and I am sure it will be

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