FORMER Australian Defence Force chief retired Major-General Peter Cosgrove has paid tribute to Ballarat born Brigadier Simone Wilkie.
Brigadier Wilkie, one of the most senior women in the history of the ADF, is currently the National Commander of troops in Afghanistan and is in charge of all 1500 Australian personnel serving with ADF units and embedded with international forces in the combat zone.
Speaking at a Committee for Ballarat event on Thursday, Major-General Cosgrove said Brigadier Wilkie was an example to all Australians.
“She is a go-getter and is widely admired in the military for her self starting attitude,” he said.
“I now see she is doing a magnificent job in Afghanistan. The Army needs to be able to exploit the full national talent and when they give you years of tremendous services like Simone Wilkie you just say give us more please,” he said.
Brigadier Wilkie was commissioned into the Royal Australian Corps of Signals in 1983 and has worke with young officer cadets at the Royal Military College, Duntroon and as the Assistant Chief of Staff to multi-national commander General David Petreaus during the surge in Iraq in 2007.
After a career leading the ADF and assisting with national disasters including Cyclone Larry in Queensland, he said he had a simple approach to leadership.
“You just keep driving away.
“You must endlessly remember that while ever you are having a sit down and a cup of tea, somewhere somebody is doing it tough. So that’s the reason why when you finish the cup of tea you get up and get back to work.”
Major-General Cosgrove said the promotion of community leaders in organisations including the Committee for Ballarat was a model which should be adopted nationally.