The Prime Minister of Australia visits HMAS Choules during Exercise Talisman Sabre 15
20 July 2015
The Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon Tony Abbott MP, has visited HMAS Choules for the first time, while in the Northern Territory to witness Exercise Talisman Sabre 2015 (TS15).
Chief Joint Operations, Vice Admiral David Johnston who accompanied the Prime Minister, said the visit provided Mr Abbott with an opportunity to witness firsthand Choules' amphibious capabilities.
"This was a great chance to show the Prime Minister HMAS Choules performing in a realistic operational environment by taking on a central role in the ADF’s amphibious contribution to TS15," Vice Admiral Johnston said.
The Commanding Officer of HMAS Choules, Commander Chris Aulmann, was especially pleased the Prime Minister had requested to meet with Ship's Company.
"The Prime Minister specifically asked to meet informally with Ship’s Company so he could talk freely and thank them for their contribution," CMDR Aulmann said.
One of those to meet the Prime Minister was Seaman, Communication and Information Systems, Sam Clarke, who said Mr Abbott seemed genuinely interested in life at sea and asked several questions about living and working onboard for extended periods.
"He obviously knew a lot about Choules' recent operations and personally thanked us for our efforts over the past nine months," said SMNCIS Clarke.
CMDR Aulmann said the visit had been great for the ship’s morale as they had worked hard to prepare for TS15 and were thrilled to receive the PM’s positive feedback.
"It doesn't matter which political party you support, a visit from any Prime Minister is a very special event," said CMDR Aulmann.