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Wednesday, 12 October 2011
Page: 11606

Ms O'DWYER (Higgins) (13:57): Greece and Australia share many bonds. I am very fortunate in my electorate of Higgins that I have a very large and vibrant Greek community which enriches the local cultural and social fabric of my electorate. During the previous non-sitting period I had the distinct honour of representing the opposition leader, Tony Abbott, at the 10th anniversary of the unveiling of the Australian Hellenic Memorial. Retired Brigadier Keith Rossis was the master of ceremonies at this very solemn occasion and was also a driving force behind the memorial.

The Australian Hellenic Memorial is located at the Domain Gardens and was erected in memory of the men and women who gave their lives in Greece in both world wars. At the service the names of those who are buried at Lemnos, Greece, were read out in a poignant reminder of the tragedy of war. In March and April 1941, the British sent over 58,000 servicemen and women to the defence of Greece, and of these 17,125 were Australian and of the 6th Division AIF. The force as a whole suffered over 2,500 dead and 3,400 wounded. Over 25,000 of those were taken prisoner. Australian losses were 594 dead, 1,001 wounded and 5,132 prisoners of war.

Memorials such as these serve to remind us of the horrors of war. I was very fortunate to be joined by the member for Calwell, representing the government, along with my state colleagues Andrea Coote, the Parliamentary Secretary for Families and Community Services, and Murray Thompson, who was representing the Premier of Victoria, along with distinguished members of the Greek community. (Time expired)