Question Time: Australian Defence Force

  • Transcript, E&OE

Mr HASTIE (Canning) (14:44): My question is for the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Will the minister update the House on the current operations of the Australian Defence Force, as we commemorate the day that the guns fell silent on the Western Front in 1918?

Ms JULIE BISHOP (Curtin–Minister for Foreign Affairs) (14:44): I thank the member for Canning for his question. On this day of sombre remembrance, I acknowledge his service as a member of Australia's elite Special Air Service Regiment. Its barracks are in my electorate of Curtin. As I pay tribute to the member for Canning for his patriotism, I know that this House extends its gratitude to all former and current Defence personnel.

This year Australia commemorates the Anzac Centenary, marking 100 years of our nation's involvement in World War I. On this day, the eleventh of the eleventh, Australia remembers all those past and present who perished or who have suffered for Australia's cause in all wars and armed conflicts.

It is fitting that on Remembrance Day we acknowledge that over 2,200 members of the Australian Defence Force are currently deployed on operations around the world. Members of our ADF are engaged in the battle against Daesh in Syria and Iraq on the ground and in the skies. In Afghanistan we continue to rebuild that nation. Our personnel are on the seas in the Pacific and Indian Oceans as well as in the waters making up Australia's maritime border.

Members of the Australian Defence Force are fighting to keep Australia and our values and our way of life safe and secure. This is why Australia has committed to the international campaign to combat Daesh in Syria and Iraq, with one of the largest troop contributions in the US led coalition. We cannot address the threat of terrorism either abroad or at home unless we attack it at its source. In Iraq, the Australian Special Operations Task Group is providing advice and assistance to the Iraqi security forces. The combined Australia-New Zealand task group, an Anzac task group, is training Iraqi army forces. Australian RAAF aircraft are conducting combat missions, including air strikes, over Syria and Iraq to blunt and constrain the operations of Daesh and to cut off its capacity to sustain attacks in Iraq from its bases in Syria. As recently as Monday of this week, the ADF took part in coalition strikes against targets in Syria and Iraq, resulting in the destruction of several Daesh tactical units and fighting positions.

On this Remembrance Day we reflect on the service of those who put their lives at risk to keep Australia safe and secure and to uphold our values as a free and democratic society. I thank the member for Canning for taking this opportunity to ask this question.

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