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ADFA Graduation Parade, Canberra

I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, the Ngunnawal People, and pay my respects to their elders, past and present, emerging leaders and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders gathered here today.

As I look out upon this parade ground I feel an enormous sense of pride in being your Commander-in-Chief. That performance was impressive. You have done ADFA proud. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in acknowledging the cadets’ efforts.

Three years ago you arrived at ADFA full of potential, and today you graduate having realised some of that potential.

To those who proceed to officer appointments in your respective Service, congratulations on your achievement.

For the Army cadets — congratulations as well; best wishes for next year at Duntroon.

You deserve your success. You’ve knuckled down; you’ve worked hard; and in many instances you’ve burned the midnight oil. Above all, you’ve persevered and achieved your goal.

I’m sure there were times when you thought about throwing the towel in. But you didn’t — and I want you to remember that always. You pushed through and today you are seeing the rewards.

I also want to recognise ADFA staff, family and friends.

To the ADFA staff — thank you for your input into the cadets’ education and training, and also for the support you have provided them. You can take pride in the next generation of officers you have helped produce.

To family and friends — I’m sure you have had your moments with your loved ones. Thank you for not only encouraging them at every turn but also for making the sacrifices necessary to assist them to finish their course.

And, finally, to the graduands — particularly our International Students — of ADFA’s 33rd class. We have a saying in the ADF that a promotion is not just a pat on the back. It is a sign that you can do more. I want you to think about your graduation in the same way. Today marks the completion of academic studies and initial military training. 
You are now well equipped for the future. You are capable and thus you can do more — for the Defence Force and for Australia.

As commissioned officers, either next year or the year after you will be in command of Australians as they serve their country in military uniform. They will look to you — primarily for leadership. It is one of the greatest privileges you will experience.

In my speeches to the RMC and Staff College graduates, I quoted a friend of mine, General Jim Mattis, retired Marine, from his latest book: 'They (the people you lead) expect you to have done your homework, to have mastered your profession.’

Why? Because they will place their lives in your hands. This is a tremendous, weighty responsibility but I am confident that your education and training here at ADFA will have prepared you well.

Again, congratulations on your graduation. Enjoy the day, and best wishes for your future in the Service.