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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 10 Hansard (17 October) . . Page.. 3179..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

Olden and Timperley, taking their revolvers and followed by a few troopers, entered the building and demanded to see the civil governor.

Early as was the hour-it was then between 6.30 and 7 a.m.-the hall was packed with the notables. When the clamour caused by the appearance of the Australians was stilled, Emir Said advanced. Olden, unaware of the situation, told him that Damascus was surrounded by many thousands of Chauvel's troops, and resistance was impossible ... Said, with characteristic Eastern dignity, rapidly acquiesced. "In the name of the civil population of Damascus,"he said, "I welcome the British army."He formally wrote out his assurance for Olden, who, declining eagerly-proffered hospitality, left the building and continued his ride towards the Homs road.

I think it is that sort of action that needs to be remembered. It took great pluck and courage. As a consequence of that, the Ottoman Empire was overthrown and modern Syria emerged. In the second war, France had controlled Lebanon and Syria. The Australian 7th division, whilst advancing through Lebanon protecting the left flank of some British units, also caused the downfall of the French in Syria and Lebanon, which led to the establishment of the modern states of Lebanon and Syria.

These efforts are not known; they are rarely talked about. They are overshadowed by things like Gallipoli and Kokoda, but the units of the Australian Light Horse in the First World War-and, indeed, the 7th division, who called themselves the silent seventh because no-one knows what they did-had a predominant effect on the setting-up of many of the modern countries of the Middle East today.

Damascus-capture

Hungary-uprising

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra-Leader of the Opposition) (5.32): I think I had a great-uncle from Wagga Wagga involved in that campaign. I always thank Brendan for bringing to our attention the greatest military historical feats of our forces. They are truly inspiring.

Tonight I am going to talk about another inspiring event for freedom: the Hungarian uprising. That occurred on 23 October 1956 and lasted until 10 November 1956. Following some revolts in Poznan in Poland and a reformist regime headed by Wladislaw Gomulka, which gave hope to a number of eastern European countries, the Hungarian people sought reform. That led to widespread reform sentiment among Hungarian students, which directly precipitated the events.

The uprising began as a student demonstration in Budapest on 23 October 1956, which attracted thousands as it marched through central Budapest to the parliament building. A student delegation gathered outside Radio Budapest, which was heavily guarded by Hungarian communist security forces. The flashpoint occurred as the delegation, attempting to broadcast their demands, was detained. The crowd grew increasingly unruly as rumours spread that the protesters had been shot. Tear gas was thrown from the upper windows, and the communist security troops opened fire on the crowd, killing many.


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