12 September 2019

 I want to speak in this adjournment speech on a recent experience I had in the ADF Parliamentary Program. I was very honoured and privileged to attend RAAF Base Pearce, along with my parliamentary colleague the member for Moreton, Graham Perrett. It's my third time on the Australian Defence Force parliamentary exchange program but my first time attending it with the great women and men of the Royal Australian Air Force.

As many people would know, the RAAF Base Pearce is based in Bullsbrook in Western Australia, my home state. It is the headquarters of the 25th Squadron, and I was very pleased to be hosted there by Wing Commander Andrew Braddon, the senior Australian Defence Force officer. I want to thank Warrant Officer Sheila Kennedy for escorting me around the base over a number of days. We had the opportunity to visit No. 3 Security Forces Squadron detachment, where they train and work with security trained dogs. Their handlers have obviously great relationships with the animals that serve to protect RAAF Base Pearce as well as doing other operations throughout the state. At the squadron headquarters at the base they had a quite poignant memorial to all the dogs lost in service. It's in Latin. I'll translate for those who don't know Latin: 'Rest in peace, faithful dogs.' I think that is a great tribute to the canines that serve all our armed services across the country.

We were also able to visit the No. 2 Expeditionary Health Squadron Detachment, the medical unit, and see their new facilities at RAAF Base Pearce which are being updated gradually as the base is showing its age. It's good that we're investing adequate funds for great new facilities for our Defence Force. We also saw the No. 453 Squadron. They do the air traffic control at Pearce, which is a significant job, given there's a flight training school in No. 79 Squadron that operates out of that base. We also visited Air Base Command Post. I thank Flight Lieutenant Dylan Kinny for his briefing.

The member for Moreton and I had the opportunity to go to RAAF Base Learmonth in Exmouth. We toured a Resolute P-8 aircraft. One of the aircraft and one of their crew are soon to be deployed to the Strait of Hormuz to monitor freedom of navigation activities. I thank the crew that showed us around that day. I have a great respect for the extraordinary work that they do and all of their monitoring activities. We also had the chance, while we were there, to speak with the women and men of No. 79 Squadron. They are the women and men who train to fly fast jets in our Air Force. At the moment they are flying our Hawk jets. We didn't get a flight in one, which I'm glad about because I'm a bit frightened of such fast jets, but, nonetheless, we did enjoy being toured around the base and the places they work. I must thank them for their wonderful hospitality. The women and men of No. 79 Squadron hosted the member for Moreton and me in their mess. They were very happy to play pool with the pool shark, which is the member for Moreton, and me, whereas I am entirely incompetent at pool. But I did have a go and I thank those members for their kindness and their welcome.

We also had a great opportunity to visit one of the most remarkable facilities, I think, in this country: the Harold E Holt communications facility, which is a very low frequency transmitter that's on the coast at Exmouth. It's been there for many, many years. It has post-World War II technology that is still operating very effectively to this day as a very low frequency transmitter, which is very important to the work that submarine forces do across the world. Also, back at Pearce, we visited the Republic of Singapore Air Force's No. 130 Squadron. The Singaporeans have been there for 25 years and learn to fly PC-21s. It's a great service that Western Australia provides for the people of Singapore and their air force in having that facility that seeks to train the men of the Singaporean air force. It says a lot about our great relationship with the nation of Singapore. We also visited the second flight training school. I had a go on their simulator. The member for Moreton and I were very lucky to have a flight in a PC-9. I thank Kevin O'Keefe for his patience with me on that flight. We weren't as brave as we might have been, but we are very grateful for the opportunity to meet the RAAF. I encourage all members to take part in this program.