Transfer of Authority Parade

1 July 2022

Thank you for all being here on this cold and wet day.

And may I begin by thanking Air Force for providing a little bit of air cover.

I appreciate you being out there. It is cold and wet, but this is a very special occasion that means a lot to me and the Army and that we can do it in this way.

Can I begin by acknowledging Aunty Selena Walker. Thank you for her welcome to country.

I also acknowledge the Ngunnawal people as the traditional custodians of the land on which we are holding this parade.

I pay my respects to their elders past, present and emerging.

I also acknowledge all First Nations people who serve in our Defence Force.

I acknowledge the presence today of Aunty Lorraine Hatton, Army’s Indigenous Elder. Thank you for being here, thank you for everything you do in our Army and for our people.

CDF and Secretary, and the Defence leadership team – thank you all for being here. Your leadership, everything we all do is a huge team effort. Thank you for your support.

To Mike Noonan and Mel Hupfeld, my fellow service chiefs, thank you for your friendship and teamwork and the impact you make in our Defence force.

It has been a privilege to lead together, and I wish you all the best in your futures.

I congratulate the new service chiefs – Mark Hammond, Simon Stuart and Rob Chipman.

You will be a great team.

To the RSM of the Army, Warrant Officer Grant McFarlane, Tracey, and your family. I sincerely thank Grant for his commitment, his professionalism, his friendship, his steady sound advice to me, and to many others in his role as RSM of the Army.

It has been an honour to serve with you, through the highs and the lows, always with the best interests of our people and our Army foremost in your mind.

Thank you for your outstanding service in our Army.

I acknowledge and thank the command team of Army – an incredible group of collegiate, committed and capable leaders.

I acknowledge the presence of all current and former members of the Army.

Family and friends, thank you. Many of you have travelled great distances to be here.

Your love and support sustains us in all that we do.

On parade today I extend a special appreciation to our guard from the Royal Military College – the Corps of Staff Cadets.

As has been described, the intersection of the present with the future.

I also thank the band – and I apologise for the need to cancel the ceremony beforehand – but thank you for being here and the joy and inspiration you bring for so many people across so many communities every day.

Thank you all for being here regardless of season, weather or terrain.

To acknowledge the continuity of command of the Australian Army.

I congratulate the incoming Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Simon Stuart – an outstanding leader for the Australian Army.

And Katie, Charlie and Evie, congratulations to you as a family.

Congratulations to incoming RSM of the Army, Kim Felmingham, and Geoff.

You will be an outstanding command team.

As I finish my career after forty years, I could not be more proud.

Proud and humbled by what our Army does.

What our people do in living our motto of Serving the Nation.

It has been an honour to have the privilege to command this extraordinary national institution, and to work with such committed people.

Four years ago we said that we needed to build on the great legacies of our predecessors and those who have gone before.

To specifically prepare for Accelerated Warfare. To be an Army in Motion.

Doing more things, in more places, more of the time. Operating in new and different ways because the problems we need to solve would be constantly changing.

How true!

Together, we have absolutely lived this narrative.

An Army in Motion – Ready Now, Future Ready – with people at the centre of everything that we do.

To be an Army for the Nation, and an Army in the Community.

To truly be One Army.

Our substantial commitment to the bushfires, pandemic and floods has characterised the past few years.

For the first time in our history, Government called out the Army Reserve – mobilising over 2,500 reservists from across the nation.

That this was done in stride, was as impressive as it was significant.

Thank you to our reservists for choosing to serve amid your own competing priorities.

I thank your employers and your families for their support.

While not core business, we never lost sight of the need for readiness to meet unforeseen challenges.

For which the war in Ukraine has been a timely reminder of the imperative of land power, and to be integrated and strong in all domains.

And likewise the evacuation from Kabul – a remarkable operation conducted by our joint force at short notice and under significant pressure.

Where our people on the ground demonstrated the very best of what we know as Good Soldiering.

This operation also signified the end of our 20-year commitment to the war in Afghanistan.

A sustained campaign where Army gained significant experience, learning tough lessons, and leading to significant reforms, capability integration, accountability, and operational effectiveness.

I acknowledge the sacrifice, commitment, endurance and professionalism by so many veterans of the war in Afghanistan who did their best during what was a dangerous and difficult mission.

It was a significant chapter in the ongoing story of our Army and Defence force.

Amidst all of our domestic challenges and a more demanding and complex strategic environment, Army has remained active and engaged in our region – working with others, helping each other build strong partnerships.

We have also undertaken significant modernisation – proactively enhancing our capabilities, workforce, training systems, organisational structures and command and control to ensure we are Future Ready.

Capabilities that will ensure our land forces and special operations forces can operate in our region, at long range and up close, in and across all domains – on land, on water, in the air, or in cyber and space.

Establishing the Aviation Command and embracing emerging technology and experimentation, to operate in novel ways, with AI, robotics or quantum.

And energising Army posture in Western Australia through the transformation of 13 Brigade are just some examples of these important organisational changes.

Central to everything we do are our people – skilled, experienced, and diverse.

Our most important capability and our inherent advantage.

I am always impressed by our people, those who choose to serve and put other before themselves.

To work together to make a difference, regardless of the circumstances.

Just in the last week it’s been inspiring to see the next generation of soldiers march out of Kapooka, and our newest officers from RMC Duntroon.

They are our future, and it is bright.

And that is the case across all of Army.

So as I conclude my service in our Army, it an honour to have served.

It is a privilege to have shared some extraordinary and unique experiences over many years in many different circumstances.

And help contribute to the story of our Army and our nation.

As I transfer command of the Army to General Stuart, I leave knowing that our future is in great hands.

I leave confident, optimistic, and grateful – grateful to my family for your enduring love and support and encouragement.

I am especially grateful to Bron, an incredible partner of this whole journey, and who has been there for me at every stage – always so generous and supportive of our Army family.

To all of our families and communities, thank you for your ongoing support.

To those who I have been on the journey with, thank you for your service and shared experiences.

To the people of the Australian Army, both serving and veterans, thank you for your service.

Thank you for your contribution to our story.

I am proud to have served in the Australian Army, and it has been an honour to serve with you.

Good Soldiering.