Motion on the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Landings at Gallipoli, The Hon Tony Abbott MP, Prime Minister
Motion on the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Landings at Gallipoli
12 May 2015
House of Representatives, Parliament House
Madam Speaker, I move that this House:
1.Acknowledge that the 25th of April 2015 marked 100 years since Australian and New Zealand troops landed at Gallipoli;
2.Pay its respects to the 60,000 Australians who fought in the Gallipoli campaign, the nearly 9,000 who died, the 20,000 who were wounded and the thousands more who carried the unseen scars for the rest of their lives;
3.Remember the brave soldiers of Great Britain, France, India and Newfoundland who fought alongside the Anzacs 100 years ago;
4.Note that on the 25th of April, solemn services of remembrance were conducted at Anzac Cove and at Lone Pine in Turkey, attended by some 8,000 Australians, including the widows of Australian veterans;
5.Extend its thanks to the people and the Government of Turkey for their support of the centenary commemorations and their ongoing and faithful care of the Gallipoli battlefields; and
6.Note that on Anzac Day, millions of our fellow Australians gathered to remember the Anzacs and all those who have worn our uniform and served in the name of Australia and that the people of every electorate represented in this Parliament have honoured this milestone: the centenary of the landings at Gallipoli.
Madam Speaker, on Anzac Day, the Leader of the Opposition and I stood together with thousands of Australians and New Zealanders on the distant shores of Gallipoli.
Together with representatives from New Zealand, Great Britain, Ireland, France, Greece, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Canada and together with representatives from Germany, Hungary and Turkey – the foes we now count as friends – we paid our respects to the Anzacs whose spirit has moved our people for a century.
We went to honour the generation of young men who rallied to serve our country when our country called and who were faithful, even unto death.
At dawn at Anzac Cove and later at Lone Pine, these places of peace that were once battlefields, we remembered the original Anzacs.
This Parliament, Madam Speaker, was only 13 years old when the Great War broke out. This Parliament still sat in Melbourne.
Nine sitting MPs served in the Great War. In all, some 120 members of the Commonwealth Parliament served in World War One.
On behalf of all members, I pay my respects to them.
I honour all the men and women who have come to this Parliament after service in our armed forces.
This Parliament should always count amongst its number men and women who have served our crown and worn our uniform.
One we should especially remember on the Centenary of Anzac is our eighth Prime Minister, Stanley Melbourne Bruce MC, who was wounded at Suvla Bay serving with the British Army.
It would have been easy, even natural, for a man like Bruce to be full of hatred for the enemy who had wounded him and killed so many of his mates.
But this man – this former prime minister of ours – who in 1915 had fought to seize control of the Dardanelles for the Allies, in 1936 worked chaired a Conference in the Swiss town of Montreux which restored the Dardanelles to full Turkish control.
He forged a lifelong admiration for Mustafa Kemal. He had great respect for Ataturk, the General turned statesman whose famous words of consolation to the grieving mothers of Australia, that their sons were lying in the soil of a friendly country, stand in stone on the Gallipoli Peninsula and are carved on the Ataturk Memorial here in Canberra.
Madam Speaker, Ataturk’s words and Bruce’s example challenge all of us who seek to build a better world to be greater than our fears and to serve the true interests of the people we represent.
Madam Speaker, wherever we find ourselves on Anzac Day, Australians at home and abroad pause to remember all who have served our country.
On this centenary, Australians gathered in numbers not seen in decades to acknowledge a poignant milestone.
On the 19th of April in your electorate, Madam Speaker, adjoining my own, thousands of people lined Pittwater Road at Warriewood to watch over 2,500 people march to Pittwater Rugby Park in honour of the Centenary of the Gallipoli landing.
It was a great crowd, as you know. You and I joined with the Governor of New South Wales to remember the men of the First Australian Imperial Force from Warringah and Mackellar and to acknowledge their service and sacrifice.
There were record numbers at all the annual services in our electorates as there were in most electorates right around our country.
At schools around our nation, students paid their respects at special ceremonies before and after Anzac Day.
To give one example, at South Curl Curl Surf Life Saving Club was organised the 100 Years 100 Boats Anzac Beach Memorial.
Hundreds were expected to attend, but instead, Madam Speaker, thousands lined the beach to watch the boats come in, with more than 450 rowers from Australia and New Zealand and one Turkish crew.
As well, groups across our country participated in the Centenary of Anzac Grants programme, restoring memorials and honour boards to demonstrate that we are a country that really does remember.
I acknowledge my own Centenary of Anzac committee, headed by Colonel John Platt CSC. I’m sure all Members would want to acknowledge their own Centenary of Anzac committees.
Madam Speaker, here in our nation’s capital, some 50,000 people were expected to attend the Dawn Service at the Australian War Memorial, but double that – at least 100,000 people – showed up in the cold and dark to pay their respects.
This has obviously been a momentous time for the Australian War Memorial, the Shrine and the museum which has served us so well.
It’s been a momentous time for its Director, our former colleague Dr Brendan Nelson, with the opening of the new First World War galleries and the launch of the Spirit of Anzac Centenary Experience which will begin touring our nation later this year,
Madam Speaker, the War Memorial has well and truly kept faith with the spirit of Charles Bean, the official historian of The Great War.
Madam Speaker, at Gallipoli, at Villers-Bretonneux, in Belgium, in Israel and at other points around the globe, as well as here at home in Australia, the work of appropriately marking the Centenary of the Gallipoli landings has been exacting.
The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Senator Ronaldson, and his Department have well-earned our respect for the meticulous planning and the reverent touch that they brought to all these commemorations.
Madam Speaker, I thank – and I’m sure I do so on behalf of all Members of Parliament – all the arms of government that have been involved in the centenary commemorations: Foreign Affairs and Trade, Attorney-General’s, Defence, the Australian Federal Police and also the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Madam Speaker, I thank the Government and the people of Turkey for their support of these commemorations and for their hospitality to Australian pilgrims this year and every year as well as for their faithful care of the battlefields where our soldiers lie still.
And I acknowledge the Office of the Australian War Graves and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission that protect the last resting places of Australian service men and women all around the world.
Madam Speaker, you cannot visit one of these cemeteries and not be moved.
As you look at the headstones and read the epitaphs, you can hear the voices of an earlier generation of Australians.
Their love and their suffering, their loss does not diminish with time.
On Anzac Day we remembered the original Anzacs and the legacy of all who have followed in this path.
We honoured all who have served in the Second World War, Korea, Malaya, Borneo, Vietnam, Iraq and – our longest war – Afghanistan – as well as those who have served in peacekeeping and humanitarian operations, and we especially remember those serving today in the Middle East and elsewhere, defending the values that we hold dear.
Madam Speaker, our nation is not just a place on a map or a mass of people who happen to live somewhere.
Our nation is shaped by our collective memory; by the compact between the dead, the living and the yet-to-be-born.
On Anzac Day this year and every year, the pact between the past and the present is renewed for the future for all those who seek to understand what it means to be an Australian.
Madam Speaker, on every Anzac Day the phrase echoes around our services: Lest We Forget.
But we have not forgotten and we will not forget.
Planning is well underway for commemorative events marking the one hundredth anniversaries of other key events of the Great War: the battles in Palestine and on the Western Front.
Madam Speaker, in 2018 we will open the Sir John Monash Centre at Villers-Bretonneux to honour the life of Australia’s finest General in our greatest war.
Madam Speaker, we will never forget the 400,000 who volunteered from a population of nearly four million; the 330,000 who served overseas; the 155,000 who were wounded or; the 61,000 who never returned.
We will never forget the long funerial pall that the Great War cast over our country and our world.
We will never forget the magnificent defeat at Gallipoli or the terrible victory on the Western Front.
We will never forget the suffering of those men and we will never forget the just cause for which they fought.
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