Page 1998 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 28 June 2023

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War Widows Day

MS DAVIDSON (Assistant Minister for Families and Community Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Justice Health, Minister for Mental Health and Minister for Veterans and Seniors) (10.25): I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) designates 19 October annually as War Widows Day;

(2) recognises that:

(a) for generations, the sacrifices, contributions and service of war widows has been significant to our nation’s story;

(b) the ACT is home to a large and diverse community of veterans and their families, including war widows;

(c) in grief and bereavement, war widows have grown a strong and resilient community through Australian War Widows, formerly the War Widows Guild of Australia;

(d) the Australian War Widows–ACT plays a critical role in the support, companionship, advocacy and recognition of war widows in our local community;

(e) the families of veterans are a pillar of strength and support for veterans in the ACT; and

(f) veterans’ families require unique services and supports responsive to their specific needs; and

(3) notes that:

(a) 19 October is the birthday of Jessie Vasey, founder of the War Widows Guild of Australia (now Australian War Widows Inc); and

(b) the ACT Government will commemorate War Widows Day annually and mark the occasion with a community event, held in conjunction with Australian War Widows–ACT.

I rise today to commend to the Assembly inaugurating the ACT government’s formal recognition and commemoration of War Widows Day. Recognition of War Widows Day forms part of a rich, important and living tradition in the ACT of honouring the families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice and of respecting, supporting and recognising the families of veterans. I thank everyone who is here today for this. We see this in the community on a very practical level with the partnership of the ACT State Emergency Service and Legacy to clear the gutters of war widows, supporting storm preparation. We see this in recognition of what is said to have been the first permanent memorial of any kind in Australia to give thanks and pay respect to Australia’s war widows.

Thanks to War Widows ACT, a stained glass widow of a life-size woman held in the protective embrace of a kookaburra is on display at the Canberra Services Club.
The memorial serves as a silent reminder of the resilience, companionship and unwearied advocacy of the ACT’s war widows. We see this in our very own Ministerial Advisory Council on Veterans and their Families, members of which in

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