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Australian Defence Force Academy Graduation Parade, ADFA Parade Ground, Campbell ACT


This is Ngunnawal Country. Today we are all meeting together on this Ngunnawal Country. We acknowledge and pay our respects to the Elders.

Good morning.

It is a privilege for me to be with you on this significant occasion.

Significant for those on parade and what it means for them individually.

Significant, of course, for their loved ones and those who have supported them to get to this point. 

And significant for our nation, for they are the future of our ADF.

Indeed, there is no better example of that than the Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Mark Hammond AM who is here with us today and the Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Robert Chipman AM, CSC — both of whom are graduates of ADFA and the first graduates to become Service Chiefs.

Well done to all on parade.

Recently I was recounting the true story of one of my predecessors who, many years ago upon witnessing a parade, thought it was not up to the standard he expected and told them he would be back the following week and to do better.

I will not need to return. It was an impressive performance and you’ve done yourself and your instructors proud. 

Please join me in acknowledging the cadets’ performance on parade.

To the cadets — you stand here today, having realised some of your potential, at a significant moment in your professional career and life.

As commissioned officers you will be in command of Australians as they serve their country.

It is an enormous privilege and responsibility. Our nation expects much of the ADF and you will play key roles in delivering on those expectations.

When challenges arise — and they will — I encourage you to dig deep and be assured that your training has prepared you well.

Stay connected with those you’ve trained alongside. Leadership can be a lonely business, but you need not be alone.

The bonds you have forged here with your classmates will remain part of your military career. Rely on the support of your classmates and be prepared to offer that support in return.

The ADF has invested in you, as have your families, and you are ready to make your contribution and return the investment.

We have a saying in the ADF that a promotion is not a pat on the back. It is a sign that you can do more, and that more is expected.

So, celebrate your achievements but do so in the knowledge that you have much more to contribute to the ADF and your nation.

In closing, I want to acknowledge two groups of people who have played an important role in your achievement.

First, the ADFA staff — thank you for your input into the cadets’ education and training. From experience I know only too well that they will come to value that input enormously over the course of their careers.

Second, the families — who have shared the, at times, difficult and challenging journey of the graduands to this day. Thank you for your support of your loved ones. You, too, are as much a part of today as they.

On a final note, and as I say often in speaking to members of the ADF, let who we are as a nation and as a people motivate you.

Australia is not a finished product, but we are a good people. We work hard, look out for each other and are not afraid to take on the big challenges.

That is who you serve.

We are a country to be proud of, and I thank you for your service and for what you will do in the coming years.