On Wednesday, 1 October 2014 a speech in recognition of the men and women of the Royal Australian Navy was delivered by The Hon Teresa Gambaro, MP to the House of Representatives, Parliament of Australia.
Ms GAMBARO (Brisbane) (09:51): I rise to speak today in recognition of the tireless and often thankless service undertaken by the men and women of the Royal Australian Navy. No-one can be in any doubt that the world has become dangerously uncertain, perhaps more so than at any time in our political history. It is at times like this that we really should take the time to appreciate the peaceful freedoms that we all enjoy here in Australia. Those freedoms should never be taken for granted. They do not come cheap. They have been paid for in blood. From the earliest days in our nation's history, the Anzacs, through their service, gave us a legacy that continues today. Nowhere is that Anzac spirit much more ably demonstrated than by the vigilance of the Royal Australian Navy.
While our thoughts and prayers are with the RAAF pilots and the crew who have been predeployed to the United Arab Emirates, and the SAS team already in Iraq advising the Iraqi military in the fight against ISIL, I want all Australians to remember that the Royal Australian Navy is always at sea. Our Navy is always on the watch, keeping us safe domestically and internationally. When we are at home with our families-when we are watching the footy, as many of us do at this time of the year-somewhere in the world a Royal Australian Navy ship is on the high seas in defence of our country and of what we believe in.
The fight against terrorism is not a nine-to-five job. You cannot clock on and you cannot clock off. Through Operation RESOLUTE, the Royal Australian Navy is contributing to the whole-of-government effort protecting our borders and offshore maritime interests. In demystifying the military jargon associated with this operation, I might point out that Operation RESOLUTE covers an operational area approximately one-tenth of the world's surface.
It is not just in our own territorial waters that our Navy is keeping us safe; they are doing so in international waters as well. In this regard, I want to highlight the exemplary service of the crews of HMAS Darwin and HMAS Toowoomba. On 6 August, HMAS Darwin and her 232-person crew docked at Sydney after seven months of successful maritime operations in the Middle East region. In their time at sea, the crew was responsible for intercepting and destroying more than $2.1 billion of narcotics. The service of the crews of HMAS Darwin and HMAS Toowoomba in disrupting the drug-smuggling supply chains-the profits of which are known to fund terrorist organisations-is just another way our Navy keeps us safe.
The men and women of the Royal Australian Navy serve Australia with pride and I salute them.
A copy of this speech is available from the Parliament of Australia Hansard website.