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Thursday, 7 July 2011
Page: 8088


Mr BYRNE (Holt) (09:39): I want to talk about a very special Anzac Day event that was conducted at the Fountain Gate Secondary School as part of the school's 10th annual Anzac Day ceremony. This was the presentation of a Lone Pine seedling which can obviously be directly traced back to the pine trees used by the Turkish soldiers to cover their trenches in the battle of Lone Pine. Since this battle at Gallipoli, Lone Pines have been planted as a memorial or as a mark of respect to those Australian and New Zealand soldiers that fought at Gallipoli during World War I.

It really was a rare honour as a member of parliament to present the Lone Pine to this school, a seedling that brings the Anzac experience at Gallipoli literally to life. It was the first time I had had the honour of presenting a Lone Pine seedling and, as far as I know, it is the only Lone Pine to be planted in my electorate. It was great to see the keen interest of the students during the ceremony. The school's year 12 captain, Junior Folueno, was delighted to participate in the presentation. In his words:

As a school, we feel privileged to have the Lone Pine—it will serve as a reminder of the sacrifices made by the ANZACs.

I commend the Fountain Gate Secondary College for the ongoing success of this ceremony, particularly City of Casey councillor and teacher at the school, Wayne Smith. Year after year he has been central to organising inspiring Anzac Day commemorations at the school and this year was no different. I also commend the great students at Fountain Gate Secondary School that have shown that the Anzac spirit will be recognised long into the future. It was very appropriate on that day that retired Turkish Army officer Lieutenant-Colonel Mehmet Kemal Boran and the president of the Turkish RSL sub-branch, Mr Ramazan Altinas, attended the event. They addressed the students and they were very warmly received.

The ceremony also specifically highlighted the Korean conflict and was attended by the Korean ambassador and a number of veterans who had fought in the Korean conflict, including the president of the Korean Veterans Association of Australia, Mr Vic Day. In his speech the ambassador of the Republic of Korea, His Excellency Dr Kim Woo Sang, mentioned the strong economic, political and strategic alliances shared by Australia and the Republic of Korea. This year, 2011, marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Australia and the Republic of Korea. I thank the ambassador for his involvement in this local ceremony. Rather unfortunately for this country, Dr Kim will be leaving our shores fairly shortly. My experience with him is that he has been a distinguished representative of his country. He has served his country phenomenally well, particularly through his achievement in organising President Lee's very successful visit to Australia in March 2009 and his work on the free trade agreement. Congratulations to you, Mr Ambassador—your presence will be missed in this country. (Time expired)