I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of an Australian soldier in Afghanistan. This brave soldier, wearing the uniform of Australia, died in the field of duty wearing his nation’s uniform, and wearing it with pride.
On behalf of the Government, I extend my condolences to his family and to his friends and to his loved ones. Our prayers and those of the entire nation are with his family and his friends and his loved ones on this most tragic of days.
In accordance with the wishes of the family, the soldier’s name will not be released at this stage.
This soldier was killed when Taliban insurgence engaged an Afghan forward operating base. And Australians were present and they came under rocket attack. Sadly, as a result of this incident today eight brave Australian soldiers have lost their lives in Afghanistan, fighting Taliban insurgents.
Our troops in Afghanistan are doing dangerous and difficult work and this work continues, it continues as we speak here today. They are in the field, they are doing their job for Australia and it is dangerous.
I’ve said before that there is no higher calling for any Australian than to wear the uniform of Australia. And on a difficult and tragic day such as today, we are reminded of the cost of wearing that uniform – and that is to ultimately surrender your life for your country. And that is what has happened.
Fighting the war in Afghanistan continues as an important part of the fight against terrorism, the fight against Al Qaeda.
It is also part and parcel of our obligations to our allies and friends, given that this war in Afghanistan began following the terrorist attacks on September 11 by Al Qaeda resulting in the murder of thousands of innocent civilians.
My thoughts, my prayers go out to this young man’s family. The nation grieves with his family today. The nation grieves with his comrades today. The nation grieves with his friends today.