Page 1087 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 25 March 2015

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greatly appreciated by the broader defence community. I acknowledge that the government have done a number of things in this area previously and also in the Anzac centenary year. I thank them for it.

I am particularly glad to see that the local memorial, which a number of my staff attend each Anzac Day by themselves, is going to be upgraded so that it more reflects a memorial and the sacrifice that has been made by Canberrans. I think that is a good initiative. I note that you, Madam Speaker, and other members were at the Anzac tribute with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and members of the Federation Guard. It was a tremendous event.

Reflecting on the role of HMAS Canberra, I think it is a good initiative that the crew be granted the freedom of the city. Many may be unaware that our coat of arms that sits above you, Madam Speaker, was commissioned in 1927 specifically for the first HMAS Canberra. That is the reason we have that coat of arms. HMAS Canberra was lost at sea in engagement with the enemy in 1942 and 84 lives were lost. I recommend that those who are calling for a change to that coat of arms reflect on its proud history and the fact that it is the coat of arms that went down with the ship and those 84 people.

There is no doubt that Mr Rattenbury and I will have different views on a few things but I thank him for his contribution that highlighted not only that we lost so many at Gallipoli and post-Gallipoli but that there were Australians who fought in the colonial wars—the Boer War and others—who were lost.

Indeed, I acknowledge that those people out there who are advocating for peace do so with the very best of intentions. I know from my own personal experience that wars will always be unpopular. Some wars seem to be more supported by the populace than others. I am glad the terrible experience of those who returned from Vietnam has not been repeated. Because of a political decision, many people were drafted and sent to Vietnam. They had no choice in the matter or if they did volunteer they did so because they were doing the right thing. But then they were blamed by the community. They bore the brunt. They were only welcomed home in a parade in 1987.

I am very glad that that is not being repeated. It is great to hear from everybody in the political spectrum that, whether you agree with the conflict or not, they will support our men and women who serve. Certainly that was my experience when I served in Iraq which, it is fair to say, did not have popular public support by its end. People would say to me, “I do not agree with the Iraq war but we support you and others that serve.” It makes an amazing difference. That is why I think this Assembly motion and the events that we see on days like Anzac Day are very important for those who serve. They know that they have the community’s support.

I do believe that sometimes we must fight. We should always seek to negotiate, to work through dialogue, but ultimately when we are confronted by people like the Taliban who are supporters of terrorism and supporters of the most disgusting treatment of women, it is right to stand up. When we see ISIS, which are a cult bent on murder, on torture and on rape, it is right that we stand up to defend the defenceless. I know that members of the Defence Force are proud to do their bit for those causes.

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