Minister for Defence — Condolence Motion for Australian Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan

Con­do­lence Motion for Aus­tralian Sol­diers Killed in Afghanistan since the Par­lia­ment was dis­solved in July 2010 

Thank you, Mr Speak­er.
It is a sad hon­our to speak on this con­do­lence motion.
It is an hon­our as Min­is­ter for Defence to com­mend the ser­vices of five brave young Aus­tralians serv­ing in Afghanistan, but it is a sad one as we are trag­i­cal­ly remind­ed that these men are sons, broth­ers, hus­bands, and fathers.

They are also the great mates of men and women in the Aus­tralian Defence Force, in par­tic­u­lar those who are in Afghanistan, fac­ing the same risks as these five Australians. 

I met with some of these last week while vis­it­ing Aus­tralian per­son­nel work­ing as part of the Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force (ISAF) in Uruz­gan Province in Afghanistan. In Afghanistan last week, I was par­tic­u­lar­ly pleased to again hear that Aus­tralian per­son­nel are high­ly val­ued and respect­ed for their effec­tive­ness and their con­duct, includ­ing their inter­ac­tion at the local com­mu­ni­ty lev­el as they con­tin­ue to work not just in Australia’s nation­al inter­est but in the inter­est of the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty as they seek to stare down on our behalf inter­na­tion­al terrorism. 

The fam­i­lies of Pri­vate Nathan Bewes, Troop­er Jason Brown, Pri­vate Tomas Dale, Pri­vate Grant Kir­by, and Lance Cor­po­ral Jared MacK­in­ney can be proud in know­ing that their boys were high­ly regard­ed col­leagues and very effec­tive soldiers. 

This con­do­lence motion will remind them of their great and trag­ic loss. But it is also an oppor­tu­ni­ty for this Par­lia­ment and our nation to com­mem­o­rate their ser­vice to our country. 

While their fam­i­lies will remem­ber these men for more and very per­son­al rea­sons, we will remem­ber them as brave young Aus­tralians who served our coun­try and served it well. Mr Speak­er, I make some remarks about the five. 

Pri­vate Nathan Bewes
On 9 July 2010, Pri­vate Nathan Bewes was trag­i­cal­ly killed by an impro­vised explo­sive device while part of a dis­mount­ed patrol in the Cho­ra Val­ley region of Uruz­gan Province in Afghanistan.
He was 23 years old.
Born in Kog­a­rah, NSW, in 1986, Pri­vate Bewes joined the Army in 2005.
He was qual­i­fied in Direct Fire Sup­port Weapons (DFSW), Com­bat First Aid and as a dri­ver of the Pro­tect­ed Mobil­i­ty Vehi­cle.
Pri­vate Bewes com­plet­ed a deploy­ment to East Tim­or in 2006 and was on his sec­ond deploy­ment, with the 1st Men­tor­ing Task Force in Afghanistan, at the time of his death.
His father stat­ed that ‘The army was his life-long pas­sion. It was all he want­ed to do.’ 

Troop­er Jason Brown
On 13 August 2010, Troop­er Jason Brown died as a result of mul­ti­ple gun­shot wounds sus­tained dur­ing an engage­ment with Tal­iban insur­gents in the Kan­da­har Province of Afghanistan. He was 29 years old.
Born in Syd­ney, Troop­er Brown joined the Army in 2000.
Troop­er Brown com­plet­ed deploy­ments in East Tim­or in 2001, 2003 and 2006.
He was deployed in June of this year for the first time to Afghanistan, as a mem­ber of the Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Task Group.
Troop­er Brown was an out­stand­ing career sol­dier. His father stat­ed that he was, and I quote ‘born to be a soldier’. 

Pri­vate Tomas Dale
Pri­vate Tomas Dale was serv­ing with the 1st Men­tor­ing Task Force when he was killed in action as a result of the explo­sion of an impro­vised explo­sive device on Fri­day, 20 August this year.
He was 21 years old.
Pri­vate Dale was born in Lan­cashire in the Unit­ed King­dom in 1989. He immi­grat­ed to Aus­tralia with his fam­i­ly in 2003 and lived in Ade­laide.
He joined the Army in 2007. After suc­cess­ful­ly com­plet­ing his recruit and infantry basic train­ing, he was post­ed to the 6th Bat­tal­ion, The Roy­al Aus­tralian Reg­i­ment. This was Pri­vate Dale’s first oper­a­tional deploy­ment.
Pri­vate Dale was an out­stand­ing sol­dier.
His fam­i­ly stat­ed that, and I quote, ‘he loved the Army and it was all he want­ed to do from an ear­ly age. He knew the risks of going over­seas but he was will­ing to take that risk for the cause he believed in’.

Pri­vate Grant Kir­by
Pri­vate Grant Kir­by was serv­ing with the 1st Men­tor­ing Task Force when he was trag­i­cal­ly killed in action as a result of the explo­sion of an impro­vised explo­sive device on Fri­day, 20 August of this year.
He was 35 years old.
Pri­vate Kir­by was born in Nam­bour, Queens­land in 1975.
He joined the Army in 2006.
This was Pri­vate Kirby’s first deploy­ment to Afghanistan. It was, how­ev­er, his sec­ond deploy­ment to the Mid­dle East.
He had deployed pre­vi­ous­ly to Iraq and also to East Tim­or.
Pri­vate Kir­by was an out­stand­ing career sol­dier.
His father said that his son always had been keen to be in the Army, and I quote his father. ‘In fact after suf­fer­ing shin splints in his first attempt to join, he stuck with it and suc­cess­ful­ly tried again’. 

Lance Cor­po­ral Jared MacK­in­ney
On 24 August this year, Lance Cor­po­ral Jared MacK­in­ney was trag­i­cal­ly killed. He was con­duct­ing a dis­mount­ed patrol in the Tan­gi Val­ley area of Deh Rawud when fired on by a num­ber of insur­gents.
He was aged 28.
Lance Cor­po­ral MacK­in­ney was born in Can­ber­ra in 1982.
He joined the Army in 2002 and in the same year suc­cess­ful­ly com­plet­ed his recruit train­ing.
He was qual­i­fied as a com­man­der and dri­ver of the Pro­tect­ed Mobil­i­ty Vehi­cle, an Assault Pio­neer and a Sniper.
This was his third deploy­ment to the Mid­dle East and his sec­ond to Afghanistan.
His moth­er said, and I quote ‘he was patri­ot­ic. He was a ded­i­cat­ed sol­dier who was real­is­tic about the risks’. 

Con­clu­sion
Mr Speak­er, these five men had much in com­mon.
They were all men of hon­our.
They all served their nation with dis­tinc­tion and courage.
They were all cher­ished by those they loved.
And they will always have the grat­i­tude of this Par­lia­ment and our nation. 

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Australia 

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