I rise also to associate myself with the comments of previous speakers. I rise to honour a brave Australian who paid the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom of our country. Recently Corporal Cameron Baird was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross; he was the 100th recipient of the medal, the highest award presented for bravery. Corporal Baird displayed selflessness and heroism in Afghanistan which saw him pay the ultimate self-sacrifice in order to save the lives of his team members, and his actions embody the Victoria Cross inscription for valour.
The Victoria Cross has a rich history within the Australian armed forces. Australian troops were first recognised for their gallantry during the Boer War in 1899, and since then 96 Australians have been awarded the imperial Victoria Cross. Since its inception in 2009, the Victoria Cross for Australia has been presented to four brave men, including Corporal Baird.
With great pride I discovered that Lance Corporal Bernard Gordon, who was awarded the Victoria Cross during World War I was a resident of my electorate of Wright for many years and his family continues to operate farms in the area.
In my electorate of Wright we have a very proud and active RSL movement with a large number of former and current armed service men and women calling Wright their home. We have 14 RSL branches and sub-branches within Wright who work tirelessly to promote the interest of returned and serving Defence Force members and their families, as well as playing active roles within their respective communities. RSL members of Wright would want to be associated with these condolence speech. I would like to acknowledge the President of Tamborine Mountain sub-branch, John Brookes, for his contribution; Nev Watterson from the Helidon sub-branch; Eric Guilfoyle from the Beaudesert sub-branch; Ernie Hardgrave from the Rathdowney Sub-branch; Brian Ranse from the Laidley sub-branch; and Marcus Bruty of the Jimboomba branch. They all wish to associate themselves with this condolence for a fallen colleague.
The local RSL movement is helped exponentially with the involvement of living Victoria Cross recipient, Keith Payne. Keith was awarded his VC for gallantry during the Vietnam War, where he located and rescued 40 men after an attack, while struggling with his own injuries and avoiding enemy fire. Keith is the last living recipient of the original imperial VC and he is a living legend. I have had the good fortune of knowing Keith for over 20 years. Keith resides in Mackay. I used to manage a pub, and the guy who introduced me to Keith said, 'Keith's a VC.' Being young and impressionable, I asked, 'What's a VC?' As a result, I had to shout the bar. Keith's workload as a VC should also be recognised. He attends events on behalf of the RSL throughout the area. He has spent his time since retiring from the armed services as an active member in the veteran community. In particular, Keith has invested a lot of his time in counselling returned service men and women who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder—an issue which he feels continues to be ineffectively dealt with. Keith has said in the past that the battle for recognition of PTSD and other mental casualties of war is ongoing. He is truly an inspirational man who has given himself fully to his comrades at war and now to the RSL movement.
In my electorate is Canungra warfare training centre. There is a memorial there planted with small trees to emulate the forests they fought in in Vietnam. It is not uncommon to see Keith disappear into the scrub and sit quietly where he feels he can best connect with those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Corporal Cameron Baird at a young age proved he was a truly inspirational man and made the greatest sacrifice for the safety of others and the freedom of our nation. To his father, Doug, his mother, Kaye, his brother, Brendan, and his nephews Riley and Max I offer my deep and heartfelt condolences. Our nation owes Corporal Cameron Baird and his family a debt that we can never repay. Mother Nature is not designed so that parents have to bury their children. It is a cruel injustice. An unintended consequence of this condolence motion is that it has made me put the face of my own daughter on that sacrifice. I would struggle as a parent to have to bury my own child. It must be a heart-wrenching experience for this family. However, this award places him in Australia's military history. Lest we forget.