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Monday, 1 September 2014
Page: 9113


Dr JENSEN (Tangney) (11:58): First I would like to very much thank the member for Melbourne for scurrilously ruining proceedings so that obviously my speech is going to be cut short!

As the events of war slip from living memory, they grow more not less important. This is so because of that oft quoted truism that 'those that fail to remember the past are doomed to repeat it'. But more than just a quote, the Boer War was a most savage war and a most modern war—modern, in the way it speaks to us today about how public opinion can change, and those lauded upon leaving can be reviled upon their return.

Lyddite, a powerful explosive that was used in shelling in World War I, was first used in the Second Boer War—commonly called the Boer War—as was trench warfare, the widespread use of machine guns and aerial observation such as the use of balloons at the siege of Mafeking. Another dreadful innovation was concentration camps, where thousands of women and children died of diseases such as typhoid and black water fever. Nearly a century later I recall the depth of animosity of the Afrikaner people had towards the English as a result of that policy.

There are parallels in the type and conditions of engagement experienced then, and experienced now in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Debate interrupted.