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Wednesday, 6 July 2011
Page: 7795

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (15:30): by leave—The events of 1914 to 1918 constitute one of our nation's finest hours. In those dark and demanding days, our people were able to achieve great things, able to meet the test of history with courage and resolve as the Australian people always do. And though everyone who fought in the Great War is now gone, their deeds will never be forgotten. As honourable members will be aware, we are preparing for the centenary of Anzac. The Commission on the Commemoration of the Anzac Centenary presented its report to the government on 28 March this year. The commission included two distinguished former prime ministers, Bob Hawke and Malcolm Fraser, a fine example of bipartisan cooperation and goodwill. Now the time has come to turn their blueprint into detailed programs and activities that will commemorate, in a worthy way, this important centenary, the most important national anniversary since the centenary of Federation and the Bicentenary.

To lead the way, I am pleased to inform the House that the government will create a new Anzac centenary advisory board which will work closely with Minister Snowdon to develop a commemorative program covering the period 2014 to 2018. Naturally, the focus of all of this will be the events of Gallipoli but it will also ensure that the whole scope of World War I is appropriately honoured from beginning to end, including efforts here on the home front. The board will also oversee the commemoration of various other significant military anniversaries that fall during the period 2014 to 2018 including the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, in 2015, and the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, in 2016. Board and committee members will be announced in coming months but, of course, the role of chair of the Anzac Centenary Advisory Board is a crucial one because it will set the tone and direction for the whole period of commemoration. I am therefore delighted to be able to advise the House that it will be filled by a very distinguished Australian, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston. Angus Houston handed over command of the Australian Defence Force on Sunday night and he will bring to this new role his wisdom, his love of history, his deep sense of dignity and his integrity. I thank Air Chief Marshal Houston for agreeing to continue his journey of public service in another capacity. I am sure the full parliament knows that he will do an outstanding job.