House debates

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Constituency Statements

Canning Electorate: Double Reds Resilience Award

9:48 am

Photo of Andrew HastieAndrew Hastie (Canning, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I would like to update the House on a new initiative I have introduced for schools in Canning—the Double Reds Resilience Award. The award takes its name from the double red diamond insignia of the 2nd Independent Company, who fought in the face of overwhelming odds in the Second World War. The award recognises students who have displayed a high degree of character and resilience during the school year in the face of adversity.

The Independent Companies were Australia's first commandos. In 1942, the 270 men of the 2/2—as the 2nd Independent Company was known—fought a significant guerrilla campaign in East Timor for almost a year against numerically superior Japanese forces. While not a main theatre of the Pacific war, the 2/2's campaign throughout 1942 made an important contribution to the final allied victory. With the aid of the East Timorese, their staunch resistance under incredibly difficult conditions, diverted thousands of Japanese troops that would have otherwise been sent to battlefields like Kokoda and Guadalcanal. Over 80 per cent of the 2/2's original soldiers were from Western Australia.

The Double Reds Resilience Award is designed to honour the legacy of the 2/2 and share their noble story with young Australians. The award recognises the effort of a student who has displayed a high degree of character and resilience in the face of adversity or hardship through the school year. This week the first awards will be presented to students in Canning. Unfortunately, we're all here so I won't be able to award them myself, but I do want to pass on my congratulations. First, congratulations to Micaela Paterson, a grade 12 student from Byford Secondary College who received the award last night. Micaela has displayed a high degree of support and care for her family whilst working hard at her academic studies. She hasn't allowed hardship or adversity to define her, even under the most difficult circumstances. Second, congratulations to Dylan Harris, a grade 12 student from Mandurah Baptist College. Dylan will receive the award tonight for his perseverance and tenacity over the past two years, despite dealing with significant health challenges. His efforts have enabled him to attain an early offer of entry into university in his chosen field. Finally, I'm very proud to say that the award has received the endorsement of the 2/2 Commando Association of Australia. I'm confident that the next generation of Australians can continue their legacy of toughness resilience in the face of adversity.