MP’s Military Passion

A Western Australian MP has
travelled nearly 4000km to
witness one of the country’s
largest military exercises and
hear the soldiers’ personal stories
after seeing first-hand the
impact that service people’s
roles have on their family
members.
The shadow assistant minister
for education, Nola Marino,
is passionate when it
comes to national security and
the unique perspectives of
Australian soldiers, which is
why she underwent a lengthy
trip to witness the exercise.
Her interest in the defence
force doesn’t just lie in the
safety of our country and our
troops, but also stems from a
personal place, after a family
member was killed in action in
the South Pacific.
“My mum was a war widow
from World War II,” Ms Marino
said.
“My two sisters never knew
their dad so we grew up knowing
exactly what it is that we
ask of our defence forces and
what they have to sacrifice and
their families have to sacrifice
so we get to live like this.”
Ms Marino opened up about
the immense impact it had on
her two older sisters who had
been too young to remember
their father.
“My mum was married
twice, so her husband was
killed in 1943 in New Guinea …
and none of us ever forgot her
husband, Jack, was part of our
family even though he wasn’t
there,” she said.

“When you live with sisters
who lost their dad in those circumstances
it makes it very
real.”
For Ms Marino, Jack’s story
will never be forgotten as her
family continues to carry on
traditions started by her mother
to honour the man she
loved.
“Every year, Anzac Day was
the day that mum really had to
acknowledge his death because
she saw her husband off
on a train and then at one
point you get a telegram that
says your husband is missing
and presumed killed,” she said.
“You don’t get a funeral, you
don’t get a body, you get no finality.
“So every year mum, out of
her own little garden would
put a little posy of flowers at
the flagpole or on the gates
and for many, many years hers
was the only floral tribute to
the Anzacs and our defence
force people.”
Ms Marino was first elected
to parliament in 2007 and has
always made it a priority to assist
the Australian Defence
Force in any way she can.
“Just to hear first-hand from
them (service people) what it is
that they are dealing with in
today’s military so that’s what
I’ve done and I’ve had some
really wonderful experiences
and met some of the best people,”
she said.
“Just listening to them talk
about what they do, why they
are doing it, how they are
doing it and they want to improve
all the time, they’re just
really exceptional people.”

Throughout her years in
parliament, she has been provided
with the chance to see
different exercises and tour
bases around the country as
well as visit troops during active
service.
“I was fortunate enough to
be on the ground with the
troops in Afghanistan in 2011
in the week leading to taking
out bin Laden,” she said.
“Part of the reason I wanted
to go was I knew we’d lost one
of our first combat engineers
to an IED and prior to that I
knew we had problems with
the CV joints on the light armoured
vehicles which essentially
is the steering
component.
“I just love meeting the people
and listening to them and
their dedication.”

Source: Townsville Bulletin, 28th May 2024