Address to the Royal Military College Graduation Parade

26 June 2018

The Honourable Darren Chester MP, representing the Minister for Defence; The Honourable Richard Marles MP, representing the Leader of the Opposition, Representatives of Foreign Governments, Service Chiefs, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, Commandant, Staff and Cadets of the Royal Military College, Members of the Graduating Class.

Good Morning.

I wish to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we are meeting this morning, the Ngunnawal people, and pay my respects to their elders, past and present.

I commend all on parade for the excellent standard of drill, dress and bearing.

It reflects the effort of the members of the Corps of Staff Cadets, their instructors, and the ever-brilliant Band of the Royal Military College.

For the members of the Graduating Class of June 2018 it is the last time you will march upon this hallowed parade ground in such a fashion. I realise that will be a matter of some excitement for most of you, but it may become a nostalgic moment in time.

The Royal Military College has an enviable reputation for producing future leaders. Graduation today marks the beginning of your journey of leadership within our Army, as well as the other Services and Armies represented by the members of the graduating class.

During your time here you have undertaken an extensive curriculum, all specifically designed to prepare you for leadership in an increasingly complex world. You have developed and demonstrated the necessary skills, knowledge and attitude to be commissioned as junior leaders.

I would like to publically acknowledge the vital role played by your instructors and staff in your development as leaders of character for service in our Army, and thank them on your behalf. I know they derive great satisfaction in being part of your journey.

I acknowledge and extend my thanks to your families and friends, who have entrusted you to our Army, and who have supported you through RMC. They will continue to play a critical role in the years ahead as these young officers contend with the rigorous demands of leadership.

As you move from here, and into your first appointments as commissioned officers in the Nation’s Army, I require you to apply what you have learnt here to lead ethically, and be personally accountable for your responsibilities to our people, our Army and the Nation.

We have a great Army – I contend the best in the world. We have outstanding soldiers, who expect and deserve good leadership. You carry enormous responsibility: the well-being, welfare and future of our people are being entrusted to you. As is the future of our institution.

The Army is central to the story of our nation. We have a proud history of achievement, of promoting and defending our national interests. We are an Army always in motion. Many have gone before you; and you will benefit from their hard-earned experience as you tackle new challenges. It has always been that way.

One hundred years ago next week, the Australian Corps under Lieutenant General John Monash led a brilliant offensive at the battle of Le Hamel. The battle saw innovative tactics and strong thoughtful leadership, to get the best from the individual parts of the combined arms team.

Today we continue that story of leadership and service to our Nation – abroad and at home. Committed and ready now, and continuously preparing for the future in a changing world. You will lead us in that future.

So Army eagerly awaits your arrival in its ranks as our newest officers - bringing your energy, inspiration and leadership, and putting your own stamp on history. Embrace it with confidence and passion. Commit to being your best self; the best leader for your teams that you can be – everyday.

Hold yourself to your own high standards. Lead with purpose, with integrity and humility.

Congratulations. I am proud of you; we are all proud of you.

I wish you good luck in all of your future endeavours, and Good Soldiering!

Thank you.