I am very proud of what the Australian Defence Force has achieved during a busy and demanding 2014.
All of our men and women continue to provide outstanding service to the nation, be they deployed overseas or serving at home.
We continue to excel on operations across a wide range of challenging tasks.
In addition to our continued operations this year, the Australian Defence Force responded to the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, worked alongside the Australian Federal Police and international forces on the ground in the Ukraine in response to the MH17 disaster, removed significant amounts of Second World War munitions in Bougainville, provided support to the Queensland Government for the G20 Leaders Summit, provided humanitarian assistance in Iraq, and conducted air strikes and deployed a special operations task group to Iraq as part of Operation OKRA.
The work you are performing is important and contributing to a capable, professional and widely respected Defence Force.
You should be proud of the work you do, and I thank you all for your dedication.
This year we lost Lance Corporal Todd Chidgey on operations in Afghanistan. Our thoughts remain with his family, and the families of all Australian Defence Force personnel who have lost loved ones over the years.
With the festive period approaching, the importance of families and friends is at the forefront of our minds.
The absence of family members deployed on operations over this period can be difficult, and I want to thank all the families for their ongoing support. This support and understanding is crucial to our success.
I wish you all a happy and safe Christmas and best wishes for 2015.