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RMC Duntroon 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.

Good morning.

Linda and I are delighted to be back on the Duntroon Parade Ground for this end-of-year graduation ceremony. The look and feel of this year’s ceremony is different to previous years. While there is no march-past because of COVID-19 restrictions, today’s event is being broadcast online. Congratulations to the organisers for ensuring families and friends are able to watch the ceremony.

Behind any graduation parade is a long and sustained period of hard work. There are no short cuts. It’s 12-18 months of training and study, and it is not easy. Congratulations to the 197 graduands — particularly our 13 International Students — upon achieving your graduation today. You have gained the confidence of the Chief of Army in your ability and potential to be successful commanders in the Australian Army. The same sentiment applies to our Air Force and international graduates. We wish all of you well as you take the next step in your career.

I also thank the RMC staff. From sunup to sundown and more, you have been there for the graduands — helping them, training them, supporting them. You’ve been a positive influence during their RMC experience and I am sure they will reflect on what they have learned from you in years to come.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the number of graduates this year is up by more than 40 per cent on last year — testament to the strength of the cohort.

I especially thank family and friends who are watching online. Support on the home front and amongst friends is critical to enabling these fine young men and women to reach this point in their lives. It’s not lost on Linda and me that for much of this year cadets have not been able to visit their families, and vice versa. You must be very proud.

To the graduands — I’m sure there were times when you thought this day would never come. That’s okay — you are human! Right now, on this parade ground, you stand at the start of an exciting career in the ADF. Never lose sight of the great privilege you have been afforded — to lead your fellow countrymen and women as they serve their country in military uniform.

Leadership is not easy. You will have to make decisions that have consequences for other people and often under pressure. You need to develop an inner strength. You must have confidence in your ability to analyse an issue and to make a decision. Listening is key.

For the Australians on parade, in addition to learning in your new appointment you will be part of reforming the ADF’s relationship with the Australian people. The ADF is deeply embedded in the community and has before it an enormous task of protecting our country while re-assuring and re-affirming its relationship with the Australian people following the findings of the Brereton Inquiry. Bringing the Australian people along with the ADF will be an enormously important part of your work in the future.

Again, congratulations to the graduands. Enjoy this moment, and best wishes for the future in your Service.

Thank you.