Remarks at Al Minhad Air Base - Dubai, UAE

Speech
03 Nov 2021
Prime Minister
E&OE

PRIME MINISTER: Well, thank you Patto, as I know you are affectionately known by everybody here. And to their Excellency, our Ambassador and to our host, the UAE thank you for your tremendous support so we can all be here. But to all of you, who've I come to see and say thank you. I want to thank you for your service to our country. This has been the base that has been responsible for Australia's largest ever air lift in these circumstances. It was, I think, some of Australia's proudest days, as over the course of a very short period of time, the men and women here working together, but agencies also outside, the ADF, Australian Border Force and DFAT, ensured that 4,100 people were brought to safety from one of the most dangerous places in the world. And it was the innovation, it was the determination, it was the professionalism, it was the training, it was the dedication that you have spent all of your service preparing yourself for a time such as that. And in that moment, our defence forces and all of those who served at that time were not found wanting. What we found is you excelled, you exceeded the expectations. At the outset of that operation, we had envisaged that perhaps it could be as many as a thousand people we would have to airlift over that period of time, and it was more than four times that amount. And you continue, you continue to ensure that people are even still being brought to safety, and are making their way to Australia for their new home. There are thousands and thousands of Australians who have been taken from Afghanistan to their new home in Australia. And the people they can thank most for that are the men and women who served during that operation and who brought them to safety and put themselves at great risk. 

So I am very grateful to all of those who were here at the time, and I know there are still some of you here, but there's been a rotation since then and those who have come in and continued that work know that the standard set by those who were here during that time was a very high one. And I have no doubt that should you be called upon in a similar way, that you would be able to respond in exactly the same measure. So, your country is incredibly proud of what you're doing here. I know you're far away from your family and your friends and that's what you have chosen to do in your service. And that is a service that we're very grateful for. So I'm looking forward to getting around and having a bit of a chat and hearing a lot about your service, and for those particularly who were here at that time, I'm particularly keen to see you as well and I want to wish you all the best for the rest of your time here. Please stay safe. And on behalf of Australia, thank you. Thank you.