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Monday, 17 June 2002
Page: 3411


Mr LLOYD (12:31 PM) —I move:

That this House:

(1) notes the passing of Australia's last Anzac Gallipoli veteran, Mr Alec Campbell, and records its sympathy to his family;

(2) acknowledges the service and sacrifice of all Gallipoli veterans;

(3) notes the increasing number of young Australians who attend Anzac Day dawn services both in Australia and overseas; and

(4) encourages all Australians to ensure that the Anzac legend continues to be recognised and honoured.

It is a great honour that my private members' business motion has been selected for debate in this chamber today. I was privileged to attend the funeral service of our last Anzac veteran, Mr Alec Campbell, in Hobart on Friday, 24 May 2002. I wish to pass on my condolences to Mr Campbell's wife and family and to thank them most sincerely for allowing all of Australia to share that very personal moment with them. All of Australia stopped at that time, not only out of respect for Mr Campbell but out of respect for the Anzac legend and the sacrifices that a whole generation of young people made at that time.

Many hundreds of people attended that funeral. One of them most people would not know: a young Central Coast student by the name of Laura Grumley from Gosford High School. Laura was one of the eight Simpson Prize winners two years ago who attended the 85th Anzac Day services at Gallipoli and Lone Pine in Turkey. Prior to her departure as a 15-year-old student she had the opportunity to meet and speak with Mr Campbell. She was so moved by that meeting, her trip to Gallipoli and the spirit of the Anzac legends and what they represent that she paid her own way to Hobart to attend, with her father, Mr Campbell's funeral. I can assure honourable members that Laura's actions highlight so much of our young people's respect for the Anzac legend.

On Anzac Day this year, I, along with a number of my colleagues—the member for Forde and the member for Bass, who are in the chamber at the moment, and also the Deputy Prime Minister—had the real privilege of attending the Anzac Day services at Gallipoli. I have to say that it was one of the most moving and emotional days of my life. People said to me before I went to Gallipoli that it really would change the way I thought about things, and it certainly did. It was an amazing experience. It is difficult to put into words the feeling, but what really impressed me so much was the 15,000 mainly young Australians who had made quite a considerable effort to be there as well. Attending the Anzac Day services at Gallipoli is turning into a pilgrimage for young Australians.

It is not easy to get to Gallipoli. Turkey is a long way away, it is expensive to travel there and to actually get to the Gallipoli Peninsula takes quite a deal of effort. To attend the dawn service most of those young people had to backpack six or seven hours in a bus and probably had to be at Gallipoli by about nine or 10 o'clock the night before. They had to sit overnight in subzero temperatures while waiting for the dawn service. It is really symbolic in some small way of the sacrifices that our young soldiers made on the Gallipoli Peninsula.

To watch the light grow during the dawn service, to look behind us to where the hills were and to imagine our young soldiers landing on that beach and trying to scale the cliffs with the Turkish forces there was very sobering for us. After the dawn service we then travelled to a number of services along the Gallipoli Peninsula, and they culminated, to my mind, in the Australian service at Lone Pine, which was held at 12 noon. I did not quite know what to expect when we were going to Lone Pine, although we had had the opportunity of being there the day before. It was an amazing ceremony and I had the privilege of reading some of the service. I wish I could speak for a lot longer on this—I could speak for many hours on it—but I have to say how proud I was of the 15,000 mainly young Australians who were there honouring our Anzac legends. I can assure all Australians that the principles that our young diggers fought for are in good hands with this generation. They were deeply respectful, and during the service at Lone Pine you could have heard a pin drop: there was not one sound from any of the people that were there. (Time expired)


The ACTING SPEAKER —Is the motion seconded?


Mrs Elson —I second the motion and reserve my right to speak.