My annual statement to the Parliament has been an important formal mechanism to engagethe nation as a whole.
So have the Defence Minister’s regular statements to the House.
And sadly, the deaths of Australians serving in Afghanistan have also been occasions for me
to express the nation’s grief and to restate the nation’s resolve.
To reassure Australians not only about what we are doing there and why
but for how long.For two reasons, this is another important time for an extended statement on our commitmentto Afghanistan.First, ever since 1915, April
in Australia has been memory’s season.
It is our most solemn national promise that in the morning of the 25
of this month, weremember the service of Australians in all the wars of our history.And that remembrance amply includes the men and women of the Australian Defence Forcewho
alongside their civilian counterparts
are serving us now, in Afghanistan and aroundthe world.They more than meet the grave demands the ANZAC tradition makes of them.And I am sure that in the period leading up to ANZAC Day, there will be renewed discussionof the strategy and policies which see our Defence Force committed overseas.So this is a symbolically significant period for Australians
and it is a strategicallysignificant period.