Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 12 February 2015
Page: 642

Centenary of Anzac


Senator FAWCETT (South AustraliaDeputy Government Whip in the Senate) (14:59): My question is to the Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC, Senator Ronaldson. Will the minister inform the Senate of the support that the government is receiving from corporate Australia for the Centenary of Anzac?


Senator RONALDSON (VictoriaMinister for Veterans' Affairs, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC and Special Minister of State) (15:00): Can I thank Senator Fawcett for the question and acknowledge his deep and abiding interest in the Centenary of Anzac. The Australian government is very grateful for the contribution of corporate Australia towards the Centenary of Anzac. With the generous support of companies such as the ANZ bank, the Commonwealth Bank, the National Australia Bank, Telstra and Woodside, together with other companies, the government has, through the Anzac Centenary Public Fund, so far committed some very substantial funds to assist the states with the $45 million redevelopment of Melbourne's Shrine of Remembrance, the $40 million redevelopment of Sydney's Hyde Park Anzac memorial, the redevelopment of ANZAC Square in Brisbane and the Memorial Drive project in Adelaide, as well as 100 per cent funding for the projects at the Hobart Cenotaph and the Borella Ride in the Northern Territory. Of course, we built, substantially, the Anzac Interpretive Centre at Albany in Western Australia.

On 27 January this year, I was very pleased to join Qantas CEO Alan Joyce to talk about that company's commitment to the Centenary of Anzac. Two of Qantas's founding fathers, Hudson Fysh and Paul McGinness, both fought at Gallipoli, and so it is entirely fitting that this airline, the second oldest in the world, is an active participant in the national period of commemoration. Last year I announced that the widows of First World War veterans would be invited, as guests of the Australian government and the Australian people, to travel to Gallipoli to attend Anzac Day, and Qantas has very generously offered to fly these very special women to Turkey to attend the commemoration. They will fly in a specially chartered Qantas jet. It will be easily recognisable, because it will be the only part of the fleet to carry the Centenary of Anzac logo at this stage. Qantas, on its international and domestic flights, will also play a series of vignettes about the Centenary of Anzac and sharing stories about our centenary of service. (Time expired)


Senator FAWCETT (South AustraliaDeputy Government Whip in the Senate) (15:02): Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. Can the minister inform the Senate of other support that corporate Australia is providing for our war widows?


Senator RONALDSON (VictoriaMinister for Veterans' Affairs, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC and Special Minister of State) (15:02): Again can I thank Senator Fawcett for the question. If I can just finish off on that previous answer, the Australian government and the Australian people are very grateful to Qantas.

Last year, on behalf of the Prime Minister, I wrote to all the surviving widows of our Gallipoli veterans—who at that time numbered about 140, which is a quite remarkable number—and invited them to be guests of the Australian people and the Australian government at Anzac Day this year. Up to 10 of these ladies, along with a carer, have accepted the offer and, subject to their health and wellbeing being okay in April, they will go to Turkey.

It is interesting that Qantas, as I said before, provided support to the remaining veterans in 1990, on the 75th anniversary of the Anzac commemorations, and now they are providing similar assistance to the widows of those men this year. They will fly these ladies to Turkey, where they will fully participate in all Anzac Day commemorative events, including the Dawn Service. (Time expired)


Senator FAWCETT (South AustraliaDeputy Government Whip in the Senate) (15:03): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. Can the minister advise the Senate whether other Australians will be able to purchase seats on this special Qantas flight?


Senator RONALDSON (VictoriaMinister for Veterans' Affairs, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC and Special Minister of State) (15:03): I again thank Senator Fawcett. Indeed they can. It will be special flight QF100, which will go from Australia to Turkey. I will be writing this week, or early next week, to a further 270 Australians, inviting them to go to Gallipoli. They are the rotating part of the ballot. People have said they are not going, so we are continuing to provide Australians with the opportunity to go to this fantastic commemorative event. Can I say to those people who will get that letter that this flight may well provide an opportunity for them to get there. Can I also say to those who are planning to go overseas for commemorative events—whether to Villers-Bretonneux, to Gallipoli or elsewhere—that they should make bookings now, and can I again reinforce, please, for everyone who is travelling overseas, particularly for these commemorative events, to register their details with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Smartraveller service.

Senator Abetz: Mr President, I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.