The following is an extract.
“Your Excellencies , Your Royal Highness, Premier of New South Wales, Defence Minister Marise Payne, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan, distinguished guests one and all, but above all, the Australian Squad Members for the Invictus Games.
Thank you for your service, for your leadership, for your courage. We thank all of our servicemen and women and veterans here today.
The games are called Invictus – unconquered, you are unconquered, you are unconquerable, just as are the values for which you fought, for which you fight, for which our nations stand.
These games remind us of that commitment, that enduring commitment to the wounded, injured, ill servicemen and women, both on active duties and veterans.
Now the Sydney Invictus Games will be on the year 2018, which marks the centenary of the end of World War l.
We know how important it is to honour the sacrifice of our servicemen and women over the ages and our veterans.
In Canberra, the Australian Parliament stands opposite, across the lake, the Australian War Memorial, whose Director, Brendan Nelson, an Ambassador for the Invictus Games, is here today.
That monument is a powerful, quiet reminder to those of us who lead our nation to always seek to resolve conflict by peaceful means. But, if we cannot, and we send our troops into harm’s way, to ensure that they are always well led and well resourced. So that they can return home safely, duty done, mission completed, to their families.
And it also is a reminder, as are these Invictus Games, that the best way to honour the diggers of 1914 and 1918 is to support the servicemen and women, the veterans and their families, of today and that is our commitment.
Our servicemen and women defend our freedoms and our values so we may live in peace. Many have paid with their lives. Many more have returned wounded, physically, mentally, emotionally.
And that is why the Australian government is providing comprehensive support to help our veterans return to civilian life. With better services so they can get on with their lives, more funding across a wide range of areas, including mental health and suicide prevention strategies.
We have also personally committed – the Minister and myself and my whole Government – to an employment initiative that will enable veterans to forge new careers.
And the inspiration for that came, Your Royal Highness, from a meeting with my son-in-law and veterans of his era, your era, young veterans in their 30s who said: “We need some help; more help to get business to give us the employment opportunities we need to return to civilian life”.
It’s a good example of the way we engage with the veterans community to ensure that we are providing each and every one of them the support they need in every way.
Rebuild their lives, return to civilian life, to continue to serve the nation, they have through their service, kept free.
So the Invictus Games is another way we can honour our veterans. It is a great opportunity to show them and the serving men and women of the ADF, that the whole nation, the whole community, is right behind them.
So I want to thank General Leahy for his leadership. I want to thank the sponsors for their support. And this is a good opportunity, in addition to the support that comes from government for businesses, for individuals, to provide their support in every way to the Invictus Games. We can all show our support for these great Games.”
07 June 2017
Admiralty House, Sydney