Page 1074 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Our city and the surrounding area provided young men, many of whom never made it home, just as every township, hamlet and city in Australia did.

Canberra is also home to the Australian War Memorial. As the national capital, we will be taking a leading role in commemorating Anzac Day on 25 April. The War Memorial’s mission is to assist Australians to remember, interpret and understand the Australian experience of war and its enduring impact on Australian society. I think we would all agree that it does so exceptionally well.

I take this opportunity to particularly commend Brendan Nelson and the council, who I think are doing a magnificent job, and certainly have done an amazing job when it comes to the new World War I galleries. I would urge members and everybody in the community who have not at this stage gone to those new galleries to take the opportunity to do so.

In the 100 years since 1915, over 100,000 Australians have lost their lives in war or have been wounded. The First World War was cited as the “war to end all wars”, but, as we know, tragically this has not been the case. The casualties include 39,648 who were lost in the Second World War, 340 in the Korean War, 521 in Vietnam, two in Iraq, four in East Timor, one in the Solomons, and 41 in the recent conflict in Afghanistan.

Others have been lost in peacekeeping missions and other conflict zones throughout the world. I take this opportunity to remember Captain Peter McCarthy, a former instructor at Duntroon whose widow Sue and daughter Sarah live in Canberra.

On Saturday the Chief Minister and I were at the welcome-home parade from Operation Slipper—Australia’s commitment to Afghanistan. I commend the three speakers there, the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition federally, Mr Bill Shorten, and the Chief Minister, Mr Barr, for their speeches. As Brendan Nelson, the director of the War Memorial, read the names and ages of the 41 fallen, nobody could have been left untouched by the tragic loss of life and the knowledge of the trauma experienced by so many families.

One of those names, that of 23-year-old Private Robert Poate, from the 6th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment, was particularly poignant. Robbie was born in Canberra in 1988. He attended Canberra Grammar School and enlisted in the Army in 2009. He was fondly remembered by what he called his “brothers of choice” from the 6th Battalion as a larrikin and an incredibly professional soldier. He was very proud of his family and his military service, and of his Canberra origins as well. I send my condolences to Hugh and Jenny, who I know still suffer greatly from his loss. Many of us would have seen them around town on a great many occasions.

Today there are hundreds of ADF members from across Australia who are deployed in hostile places across the globe, from Iraq to Afghanistan, and we all hope and pray that they return safely to their families.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video