Five Australian Soldiers Killed In Afghanistan

Three Australian soldiers have been killed by a rogue Afghan soldier in Afghanistan and two members of the SAS have died in a Black Hawk helicopter crash.

Details of the incidents have been announced by the Acting Chief of the ADF, Air Marshal Mark Binskin. The Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, has described this as “the darkest of days for Australia”.

Mark Binskin

The “green-on-blue” incident occurred at a base in southern Oruzgan province yesterday. Two other soldiers were injured in the attack.

The helicopter crash occurred during an “insertion” in Helmand province. The aircraft rolled over on landing.

  • Listen to Air Marshal Binskin (16m)

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About 1500 Australian Defence Force troops are in Afghanistan as part of the International Security Assistance Force. The casualties announced today bring Australia’s death toll to 38. Seven soldiers have now been killed in green-on-blue incidents.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced that she has “made the judgement call” to come home early from the Pacific Islands forum in the Cook Islands. She said this is the nation’s worst day in Afghanistan and the worst loss of life since Vietnam.

Julia Gillard

Gillard insisted that the commitment in Afghanistan has a purpose and that “progress is being made”. She said: “We cannot allow even the most grievous of circumstances to alter our strategy… We went there for a purpose and we will see that purpose through.”

  • Listen to Prime Minister Gillard (11m)

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Statement released by Department of Defence.

Three Australian soldiers killed, two wounded in insider attack

Three Australian soldiers have been killed and two wounded following an insider attack at Patrol Base Wahab in the Baluchi Valley region of Uruzgan.

The attack occurred during the evening of 29 August, 2012 (Afghan time) inside the confines of the Patrol Base. [Read more…]

Governor-General Quentin Bryce’s ANZAC Day Address

Americain: Governor-General Presents 2010 Melbourne Cup

The Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, has described the Melbourne Cup as a “day of national unanimity”.

She made the comment during her presentation to the connections of the winning horse at Flemington Race Course in Melbourne.

The 150th Melbourne Cup was won by Americain. Maluckyday was second, whilst the sentimental favourite, So You Think, came in third.

Bryce said it was also a day of “individual financial adventure” and, “if you are female, exuberant showing-off”.

By tradition, the Governor-General makes the presentation to the winner of the Melbourne Cup.

Click the PLAY button to listen to the Governor-General’s presentation:

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Click the PLAY button to listen to the call of the race by Channel 7’s Greg Miles.

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Watch the Melbourne Cup:

The Second Gillard Government: Politics Is Personal

The 42 members of the Second Gillard Government will rarely meet together in one place as they did yesterday at Government House for their swearing in by the Governor-General.

Most of the time, the Cabinet of 20 will meet weekly. Occasionally, the 10 members of the outer ministry will join the Cabinet. Only rarely will the 12 Parliamentary Secretaries sit in the same room with the inner circle.

To watch them yesterday was to be reminded that politics is a business of hierarchies, competing ambitions, animosities and long memories. Disappointment is never far away. Friendship is fraught. As they say in the cities of government the world over, if you want a friend here, get a dog.

Behind the palpable relief that these Labor members were even present at Yarralumla to be commissioned as members of the government lay a picture of the possibilities and problems before them. [Read more…]