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(generated from captions) for as long as possible. to keep the square square But... how long they do that, you know, ..we have to see

how quickly the form becomes round. it becomes round very quickly. The problem is, MYSTERIOUS MUSIC within the context here It would work better as possible, to make as light an object so the fabric that I've chosen is a semi-translucent, white PVC, is very present - brick, unpainted. also because the room itself MYSTERIOUS MUSIC EERIE MUSIC MAN: 'Melancholia'. (Echoes) REFLECTIVE MUSIC MAN: 'Melancholia'. (Echoes) HUBBUB specially for here? WOMAN: You made it sense that it's made for this room. The work is site-specific in the the coal under the ground, It's not made in connection with which is above the ground. or the economic difficulty that that is part of the spirit, I mean, of course one recognises wrong of me to say but it's...it would be something to do with that. this work represents It does not. MYSTERIOUS MUSIC an aesthetic proposition. In the end, I think it is just in space terms, from here to there. It is just a way of going,

All the other things are peripheral. I hope they become deep, All the other things... they are around the edge. but they are peripheral,

here to there, to fill the space... The main proposition is to go from in a new way - that's it. ..in a, I hope, in a different way, REFLECTIVE MUSIC EXCITED HUBBUB I think permanence is... ..overrated. In a way, there's a certain... ..ephemera to an object like this. I think that if, in time, it's worth doing again, it feels as if we'll put it up again. I don't think it matters. Does it matter that I'm not around? you know. It's a very objective process, What I want is no creases. That's...in a way, the only criteria. MYSTERIOUS MUSIC MUSIC INTENSIFIES MAN: 'Melancholia'. (Echoes) International Pty Ltd Captioning and Subtitling Closed Captions provided by

Tonight - war and remembrance. World War I veterans, There's no more And it lets us know how time passes. just because generations die. We can't be complacent

to focus on the living memorials. April 25 becomes a time of World War 11 veterans. The dwindling brigades I look young, but I'm not. (laughs) This program is captioned live. I'm Tony Jones. Good evening, welcome to Lateline, It was inevitable, Gallipolli and the Western Front once the focus began to shift from to the Pacific War and Kokoda, that someone would emerge to claim rather than history. we're creating myths when Stephen Barton, That happened yesterday Liberal staffer a Perth academic and former for 'The Australian' penned a think-piece of left-leaning historians which claimed that a coterie mythologised the Battle of Kokoda. led by Manning Clark had from the Australian coastline, Fought at times just 300 kilometres of the Kokoda trail the question of the importance history is still under debate, in the annals of Australian military nearly 64 years on. its legend to that of Gallipoli Former Paul Keating elevated as prime minister in 1992. when he visted Isurava the Australian nation, This was the place where I believe Australian nation was confirmed. the depth and soul of the a new skirmish in the history wars Well, it's on that very point that is now being fought. Stephen Barton's claim is that Australia from invasion, the Kokoda battle did not save and fellow travelling historians and that Labor politcians to reinforce the credentials have twisted the truth John Curtin. of the wartime Labor prime minister on Anzac Day It's a claim that's sparked outrage Labor luminaries alike. from veterans and And it sparked our interest so much to join us that we've asked Stephen Barton and debate the issue experts on the campaign, with one of the most authoritative Paul Ham, author of 'Kokoda'. That's coming up. But first our other headlines. of the bomb attack in Egypt Worldwide condemnation and injured more than 100 that killed as many as 30 people including two Australians. is critically injured Sri Lanka's military chief in a suspected suicide bombing and several are killed in Columbo. inside the military headquarters the king to reinstate parliament. And people power in Nepal moves The sacrifice of war by Australians has again been remembered

at home as Anzac Day was commemorated and on the Gallipoli Peninsula. the landing at Anzac Cove 91 years have passed since to be marked and this was the first anniversary veteran of World War 1. without a surviving is undiminished, But the enthusiasm of Australians with huge numbers again turning out across the country. at services and marches of the war memorial And this year, the significance

has been confirmed, as a shrine to the nation's war dead being officially protected by law. with the famous domed building Dana Robertson reports. SINGING AND SOLEMN MUSIC As the sun rose over Anzac Cove, and Turks came together Australians, New Zealanders 91 years ago to remember the dawn landing that came to define their countries. draws us to this place - Gallipoli. It is sorrow and a great loss that of sorrow and loss, But along with the sentiments of bravery, comradeship we also come with an admiration and human spirit. on the battlefields 26,000 Australians were wounded of the Gallipoli Peninsula. More than 8,000 lost their lives. In the many decades since, for thousands of young Australians it's become a place of pilgrimage and this year was no different. Major General Michael Jeffrey, The Governor-General, of the Gallipoli campaign. explained the significance It was seen as a war-winning plan, ally, Turkey, out of the war, which would knock Germany's provide support to Russia itself to a more rapid conclusion. and perhaps bring the conflict that the original objectives As the day wore on, it became clear of the landing - to seize the heights and race across the peninsula -

would never be achieved. The words of Turkey's revered wartime commander Kemal Ataturk reminded those gathered of the new relationship the wartime enemies have forged in times of peace. Those heroes who shed their blood and lost their lives you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country - therefore, rest in peace. (Bugler plays 'Last Post') In losing a campaign, they won us a greater prize - an enduring sense of national identity. Let us never forget. All Australia's original Anzacs are now gone. In Sydney, a rider-less horse symbolised the loss of all the diggers

who saw duty in the First World War. Just the solemness, the significance. It is an honour. There's no more World War I veterans. And it just lets us know how time passes. The focus of many marchers has shifted to veterans of the Second World War but their numbers are shrinking too. I look young, but I'm not. (laughs) Again, record crowds braved the freezing pre-dawn darkness at the Australian War Memorial to remember the fallen of all conflicts. We are mindful that, as we recall the Anzac landing 91 years ago, that this year also marks the 90th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme and the 40th anniversary of the Battle of Lon Tan. The service in Canberra this year held special significance - the War Memorial and Anzac Parade have been listed on the National Heritage Register. It's an important symbolic acknowledgement of the iconic status of the War Memorial in our national life. It's looked after forever and ever - nobody can do anything to it.

Thousands more marked Anzac Day around the country, but nowhere was the service more poignant than in the small Victorian town of Briagolong - the hometown of Private Jacob Kovco who died in Iraq just four days ago. BAGPIPES PLAY 'WALTZING MATILDA'

The parents of the 25-year-old soldier laid a wreath in his memory. For private Kovco's wife, Shelley, his 4-year-old son and baby daughter, Anzac Day has been forever changed. Dana Robertson, Lateline. The death of Private Jake Kovco added to the poignancy of Anzac Day services in Iraq, where he was serving. From Camp Smitty in southern Iraq, Middle East correspondent Matt Brown reports. A crescent moon and the morning star hung over the Iraqi desert

as the troops assembled to remember the fallen. They gathered at the cricket pitch amidst the thick grey mud of Camp Smitty. As they paused to consider the fate of their predecessors, they also considered their own. You people standing here today, whether you appreciate it or not, are the flag bearers for that Anzac legend that I spoke about. Those who stand behind the troops were also brought to mind. We should pause not only to remember conflict and sacrifice by those who served on the battlefields, but we should pause to reflect on our families. Many of these soldiers are preparing to go home at the end of a 6-month tour of duty. And even for the proudest, it will be a homecoming anticipated with real longing. I was actually only married about three months prior to coming here, so haven't had much of a honey moon, nor of a first year of marriage for that matter. So it's...it's been a trying time for both of us, but I am quite sure we'll make the best of it after this. But today, their thoughts are as much for the past as the present. (Plays mournful song) On the parade ground, a piper played the lament. A British helicopter heralded the dawn. This is the fourth Anzac Day in a row that Australians have spent here in Iraq. Today, as well as all of those who've gone before, they're remembering one of their own - Private Jake Kovco, who was killed in Baghdad last week. Everyone here is hoping that come the next Anzac Day, there will be no more names to add to the list

of those who've paid the ultimate sacrifice. In Baghdad, the soldiers are still coming to terms with Jacob Kovko's death.

It just drives the point home that, you know, we all want to get home safe. Many minds today, on both sides of the world, are focused on a safe homecoming. Matt Brown, Lateline. A suicide bombing inside Sri Lanka's main military headquarters has "critically wounded" the chief of the army, killed eight people and wounded 27. A woman, dressed as though she was pregnant blew herself up in front of a military convoy. Five bodyguards on motorcycles were killed on the spot. No-one has claimed responsibility but the police have blamed Tamil Tiger Rebels for the bombing. More than 100 people have been killed in Sri Lanka in the past three weeks despite an official truce between the government and the rebels. Attempts by Norway to broker a new round of peace talks continue to fail. Egyptian police say they've detained 10 people in connection with bombings overnight that left as many as 30 people dead.

Three blasts ripped through the resort town of Dahab on the Sinai Peninsula. As well as the dead more than 100 people were injured, including two Australian women. World leaders have condemned the attacks, as Middle East correspondent Mark Willacy reports. The bombs tore through a packed tourist area

near the seafront in Dahab, ripping apart a restaurant, a cafe and a supermarket. The blasts scattered the streets with glass, debris and body parts. An usually low-key tourist destination on the eastern side of Egypt's Sinai peninsula, Dahab is popular with scuba divers and budget travelers. As these bombs exploded, the town was bustling with Western tourists and Egyptian holiday-makers enjoying the spring high season. Egyptian officials say

at least three foreigners are among the dead, including a German child. The Department of Foreign Affairs says two Australian women were injured in the blasts. Australian Liz Cush was holidaying in Dahab when the attackers struck. I was in a restaurant around the corner from where the explosions were. It was about 200m away. Um, I just heard a really loud explosion and everyone went running. Prime Minister John Howard has condemned the attack. Tourism doesn't respect national identity, it doesn't respect religion. It doesn't respect national borders and it plainly doesn't respect human life. The attackers hit just a day after al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden warned that Westerners were legitimate targets because they supported governments that he said were conducting a "crusade against Islam". We keep those who were injured in our thoughts and prayers. And I assure the enemy this - we will stay on the offence.

We will not waiver. We will not tire. We will bring you to justice for the sake of peace and humanity.

LOUD EXPLOSION Last July, nearly 70 people were killed by bombs in Sharm el-Sheikh and in October 2004, more than 30 died in attacks in Taba. Responsibility for both of those strikes was taken by groups claiming links to al-Qaeda. Mark Willacy, Lateline. in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu There have been celebrations gave in to democracy protests after the country's embattled king and reinstated parliament. demonstrations and a general strike, In more than two weeks of and hundreds have been injured. at least 12 people have been killed parliament to sit this week, The new agreement paves the way for to consider a new constitution. and for a national body to be set up from Kathmandu, But as Shane McLeod reports with the resolution. not everyone is happy and violence, After 2.5 weeks of protests bowed to public pressure. Nepal's embattled King finally

(Speaks Nepali) through this proclamation, TRANSLATION: We, the House of Representatives, reinstate

which was dissolved on May 22, 2002. The late-night television announcement sparked immediate celebrations. The whole Nepal, we are very much happy, that's why we are come in the middle of the night and we are celebrating that goal - what we've achieved, right now. Though many people have sacrificed their lives for the achievement of this goal and we are very much happy for that. demand of political party leaders Reinstating parliament was a key of protest against the King. who've driven the campaign named a candidate The party leaders have already for prime minister. with plans for elections They'll now press ahead to draw up a new constitution. and a constituent assembly for the new government But a more pressing challenge with Maoist rebels. will be negotiating two days ago, They asserted their power again on government facilities with a daring raid in a town east of Kathmandu. has issued a statement The Maoists leader, Prachanda, decision to accept the King's offer describing the 7-party leaders' as another historic mistake. The resolution of the stand-off with the King didn't stop a planned protest march through the streets of the capital. (Speaks Nepali) TRANSLATION: There has to be a complete change in the government from His Majesty's administration and we won't be satisfied till we name a completely new government. Nepal's restored parliament is due to sit this Friday. Shane McLeod, Lateline. In the Solomon Islands,

today's parliamentary session the Opposition has boycotted being held in custody. in protest at two of its MPs with inciting last week's riots Charles Dausabea is charged

the Honiara Hotel. and threatening to burn down He was refused bail, of violent reprisals despite his lawyer warning to take part in a confidence vote if Mr Dausabea wasn't released in parliament tomorrow. and soldiers provided Australian and New Zealand police for the court appearance heavy security for any fresh outbreaks of trouble. and are on alert tomorrow in parliament - The obvious flashpoint could be the vote of no-confidence. get over that well - Deal with that, things will be back to normal. In parliament today, the Opposition staged a walk out allowing the government's nominee for deputy speaker to win the vote 25-0 in the 50-member chamber. Well, as we've heard, today was the first time Australia saw an Anzac parade without a World War I veteran. And with the horrors of Gallipoli and the Western Front in the national conscience, firmly established a reassessment of the Pacific War the time has clearly come for and its most iconic battle, Kokoda. have been devoted to Kokoda, In recent years, two books

and now a new film bears that name. the generic description Of course, Kokoda has become in Papua New Guinea - for a series of battles a Japanese invading army all aimed at turning back intent on capturing the strategic hub of Port Morseby. The Australian government at the time, led by Labor prime minister John Curtin, claimed the ultimate Japanese target was Australia itself. That's a debatable point, and as we said earlier, it's now become part of the history wars, with Perth academic Stephen Barton claiming that left-leaning historians "embrace the battle of Kokoda "because it can be twisted to fit their preferred narrative" - Australian troops abandoned by the perfidious English, fighting alone, with plucky Labor man Curtin battling Churchill, as well as the Japanese. Stephen Barton and the author of 'Kokoda' Paul Ham, to thrash that issue out. will join us shortly remind us of what actually happened First, here's Tom Iggulden to in the mud and blood of Kokoda. HAUNTING STRINGS We had so much to fight for. Our country was - until delayed the Japanese forces. we knew we had to hold it of the values of the Gallipoli myth, Kokoda reinforces a lot I think, a step further but I think it takes it yourself and your own values because it's about defending on your own home soil. HAUNTING STRINGS from the Australian coastline, Fought, at times, just 300km the question of the importance of the Kokoda Trail in the annals of Australian military history is still under debate, nearly 64 years on. Paul Keating elevated its legend to that of Gallipoli when he visited Isurava as prime minister in 1992. This was the place where, I believe, the Australian nation - the depth and soul of the Australian nation, was confirmed. About 3,000 Australians fought in New Guinea and about 600 of them died. who died in Gallipoli. That's compares to the 8,000 or so the World War II diggers, But as age begins to weary attention is being refocused military history. on their place in Australia's the harshness of the conditions. What's not under debate is the Japanese in New Guinea The first troops to face so-called "Chocolate Soldiers" - were Australian militia battalions, inexperienced and outnumbered. the face of the Japanese onslaught, They were expected to melt in while waiting for reinforcements. but resisted fiercely for weeks, were with the main Australian AIF - Stan Bissett and his brother, Butch, battle-hardened troops "Chocos" of the 39th Militia. sent to reinforce the so-called They caught up with them at Isurava, the first major battle of the campaign. Well, I can remember seeing the 39th - we were passing some of the wounded and some of those that had to withdraw

and their condition was pretty, pretty terrifying really. Soon the Bissetts' battalion was pitched into the battle. That night, Butch Bissett was shot through the stomach by a Japanese machine gun. And at 4:00 he died. our good times and bad times We talked about some of and I held his hand the whole time. We buried him there my memory for the rest of my life, and it was something that lived in particularly around Anzac Day. and it's still in my memory, indeed, the whole Kokoda campaign The significance of Isurava and, is now under hot debate. Australia from Japanese invasion, Were the diggers of Kokoda saving as they believed? to invade Australia. The Japanese did not have a plan developing a plan, They had been working towards

they'd put the plan aside. but, in the early part of 1942, Ahhhhh! Fall back!

C' mon you bastards! Not on your life! on the ordinary diggers succeeding The myth of Kokoda also rests in spite of the mistakes made by their commanders - a point made clear in the movie 'Kokoda' released a few days ago. In the story our kids have no training, no experience, no resources, no leadership - it's a given within the story that the high commander completely let them down. There's also argument about whether Kokoda, few forces fought with comparatively theatre of the war, on the fringes of the secondary was of strategic importance.

Get down! We've got to go! Others argue hadn't been defeated on land. until New Guinea, the Japanese It is the turning point. being able to gather more forces Now, later on, the Americans and push the Japanese back, somewhere. but the Japanese had to be stopped BAGPIPES SWIRL

At Isurava today, from where Butch Bissett is buried, at the shrine just metres a world away. such arguments would have seemed Tom Iggulden, Lateline. the new Kokoda debate, Well, before we look at sparked by a Perth acadamic and former Liberal staffer, it's worth noting that Stephen Barton's think-piece provoked an angry response today. The Labor leader Kim Beazley described it as an attempt to "take Kokoda out of the Australian legend". The RSL's national secretary said it was, "offensive to those who fought at Kokoda". And Rusty Priest,

Memorial Walkway Committee said the chairman of the Kokoda Track and sacrifice" Mr Barton "denigrated the memory

of the campaign's veterans. Well, that same Stephen Barton, of the history wars soon to become hardened veteran

joins us now in Perth. And in our Sydney studio, the author of 'Kokoda', we're joined by Paul Ham, on the New Guinea campaign. the most authorative book for being there. Thanks to both of you

Thanks to both of you for being

there. Thanks, Tony. Stephen Barton,

first to you, not surprisingly, I

suppose. You knew the sort of

hornet's nest you'd be stirring up

when your piece was published on

when your piece was published on the day before Anzac Day? I knew it

would be controversial but I'm

shocked at the level of response.

shocked at the level of response. I think some people have

misinterpreted it as if to say the

Kokoda campaign wasn't important

Kokoda campaign wasn't important and I'm denigrating what the AIF and

I'm denigrating what the AIF and the Chocos did there. It wasn't the

Chocos did there. It wasn't the bat that will saved Australia. That's

that will saved Australia. That's a hyperbole that isn't necessary when

we recognise their sacrifice and

what they did there. You're not

having an academic debate about the

battle of Waterloo or something

battle of Waterloo or something that happened in the American Civil War.

The problem you've got is there are

people still alive who watched

people still alive who watched their mates die and they genuinely

believed they were fighting to save

Australia and you're telling them

essentially they weren't? Well

you're going to get that with any

campaign. Hindsight is a wonderful

thing and we can sit here with the

benefit of 60 years and know that

benefit of 60 years and know that it wasn't the battle that saved

Australia but the suggestion that

you're putting forward is because

the people that fought there

the people that fought there thought it was the bat that will saved

Australia, do we continue to say it

was the battle that saved Australia?

Well I'm going to bring Paul Ham in

in a moment. I want to press you

in a moment. I want to press you on this. Here in black and white is

what you said, "Australian lives

were increasingly wasted in

strategically useless operations

against Japanese troops that could

have been left to wither on the

vine. " Now I don't suppose unless

you were there you'd realise how

hard it would be to leave those

troops to wither on the vine when

they were killing your mates?

What I'm referring to there is the

operations and campaigns after 1942

when a lot of the Japanese troops

when a lot of the Japanese troops in New Guinea could have been

New Guinea could have been by-passed or contained. So Australian troops

were engaged in offensive

were engaged in offensive operations against them which cost Australian

lives and there were arguments that

military high commands should have

left these guys or contained them

and that's something that the

political leadership in Australia

didn't really sort of articulate

didn't really sort of articulate and sort of advocate the interests of

Australian soldiers as well as they

might have. Alright, let me bring

might have. Alright, let me bring in Paul Ham, we've left you on the

sidelines for a while. What's your

view of the historical and the

strategic significance of the

strategic significance of the Kokoda campaign, and by that I just don't

mean the Kokoda Trail, but the

surrounding battles. ? The Japanese

had to be stopped somewhere and

certainly this was the gravest

crisis in Australia's military

history. You've got to remember

history. You've got to remember the situation at the time. The

situation at the time. The Japanese had locked up the Pacific. They'd

occupied China, at all way down the

Pa civilianic they'd occupied these

countries. Java had the largest

countries. Java had the largest qui teen in the world. They bombed

Darwin, Broome, Townsville, they'd

sent midget subs into Sydney

Harbour. You can imagine that

Curtin might have been concerned

about the strategic threat. Now

about the strategic threat. Now the strategic importance of Port

strategic importance of Port Morseby is very interesting. It was a

critical port. In the Pacific war

if you had the airfield you

commanded and air space obviously.

But that was what the Pacific war

was about, getting airfields. If

they had the airfield in Port

Morseby they commanded Northern

Australia, entire Queensland. They

would take charge of the seaways.

That would cut Australia off from

American supplies, American troops

and literally neutralise us. I

and literally neutralise us. I know that Japan did not intend to invade

Australia, but we didn't know that.

You've got to understand that

You've got to understand that Curtin didn't know what was going to

didn't know what was going to happen next, one of the basic lessons of

history. It's about perceiving

events as much as it is about

events. Curtin was doing

events. Curtin was doing ironically exactly what any good conservative

politician should be doing,

protecting the nation from the risk

of attack. And he did think there

was a threat as the situation at

was a threat as the situation at the time demonstrates. Stephen Barton,

he did think there was a threat.

Strategically it was critical.

Northern Australia would have been

in danger, the Torres Strait is not

very wide, we know thoo. Why would

you just allow Port Morseby to fall?

Look Tony, I don't think you would.

The point I'm making - Hang on, you

wanted - correct me if I'm wrong

here, but you wanted us to leave

here, but you wanted us to leave the AIF in the Middle East and or

Europe, didn't you? No,that's not

what I was saying, Tony. What I

what I was saying, Tony. What I was saying was that it was an important

campaign, but it wasn't the battle

that saved Australia. Australia

that saved Australia. Australia was engaged in a world war. What that

means is that events far beyond our

control and far beyond our borders

are ultimately going to secure our

future. Now let's take the

worst-case scenario, that say they

did a diversionary raid or they

occupied part of Queensland. Now

ultimately did that mean that

Australia would lose the war? Well

once the allies won in Europe and

the full light of the allies came

the full light of the allies came to bear on the Japanese, ultimately

bear on the Japanese, ultimately the Japanese would be defeated. So it

would have been a terrible situation, it would have been grim

and appalling but it ultimately

would have been a temporary

situation. We have to remember

situation. We have to remember that this was a world war and when we

talk about the battle that saved

Australia we're sort of putting

these parochial blinkers on and

seeing the centre of the war's

gravity in New beginy. We've got

gravity in New beginy. We've got to sort of step back from that and

recognise that it was a world war.

Curtin inherited a near defenceless

country, and you know, our troops

the AIF were in the Middle East, in

Greece, in Europe. We had very few

aircraft, very few pilots. They

were sent off to fight for Britain

in the empire training scheme. We

had fewer ships, they were in the

Mediterranean. We had very little.

We had very little actually. And

We had very little actually. And in that situation you would imagine

that you really have to get some

sort of defensive shield when the

Japanese are in such close

proximity. Now the interesting

thing about Menzies position is he

came around to understanding what

Curtin was trying to do and agreed

with him. I have a great letter

from Menzies to Curtin saying,

"Don't you think we should get our

troops up in North Queensland,

troops up in North Queensland, don't you think we should be doing this?

you think we should be doing this?" This was in 1941. You're saying

This was in 1941. You're saying that Menzies wanted to bring the troops

home from Europe and the Middle

East. He came around to that view.

We must sent them to the north,

We must sent them to the north, it's getting critical, Singapore has

fallen. Curtin responded, "It's

very reassuring to see your

very reassuring to see your attitude evolving in the direction of mine,

thank you very much. " Stephen

Barton, here is apparently a letter

from the greatest Liberal PM of all

time suggesting that he would have

done pretty much the same thing

done pretty much the same thing that John Curtin did? Tony, I've just

John Curtin did? Tony, I've just got to reiterate I'm not saying that

Kokoda or New Guinea wasn't

important or that defending the

north of Australia wasn't important.

I'm addressing this sort of idea

that this was the battle that saved

Australia. Certainly, actually we

do know in '42 that the Americans

were sort of sending troops towards

Australia and obviously defending

Australia was an important thing.

I'm just really trying to nut out

this concept that somehow because

Australians were fighting on

Australia's doorstep that this was

the most important battle of the

Second World War. But you are

Second World War. But you are trying to nut it out in the context of the

history wars, are you not? You've

clearly suggested a bunch of

left-leaning historians led by a

Manning Clark and followed

subsequently by Paul Keating have

created a sort of myth out of this

battle? Let me explain that, Tony.

I guess that the left and the ALP

have often been uncomfortable with

the tradition of the Australian

Imperial Force. They've often seen

the AIF as acting for British

imperial interests, sort of not in

Australia's interest and the beauty

of Kokoda is it's a military

campaign in which they can say that

it wasn't acting in British

it wasn't acting in British imperial interests. That it was we

interests. That it was we ourselves seemingly alone battling out

seemingly alone battling out against terrible odds as the hordes came

down from the north. So it's sort

of a military campaign - Aren't you

leaving General MacArthur and the

Americans out of the equation when

you make that equation? In what

sense? Well, weren't they involved

in the campaign? There were

Americans all through the New

Americans all through the New Guinea campaign. General MacArthur was in

Australia, Curtin had created a new

alliance with America. Well, I want

to address that, Tony. Curtin

hasn't created a new alliance with

America. What had happened was

America. What had happened was that Churchill and Roosevelt had gotten

together and divided the world into

strategic areas of responsibility

and Australia was in the United

States' area of responsibility. So

it wasn't Labor creating this

alliance. It was pretty much

alliance. It was pretty much Curtin told, "Well look, the Americans

told, "Well look, the Americans will be looking after sort of that area,

be looking after sort of that area," and in fact Curtin's famous speech

where he said that free of any

where he said that free of any pangs of kinship we look to the Americans,

the Americans regarded that as

the Americans regarded that as quite cowardly and they were apologetic

cowardly and they were apologetic to the British saying, "What's this

the British saying, "What's this guy saying?" We've got to address that

myth, too. OK, Paul Ham? Well, I

think it's a shame that this should

degenerate into party politics when

we should be thinking about the

troops' sacrifice. I will say this,

Curtin I believe was a great man

Curtin I believe was a great man and I'm not a fellow traveller with the

left-wing historians, I'm a

centrist. So many people see the

politician first and the human

politician first and the human being second. In writing my book I've

tried to see the human being first

and the politician second. What

and the politician second. What did he do to save this country, from

being cut off from America? He did

plead with the Americans for help.

It could be interpreted there was

something abject about that.

Certainly we needed help. We were

getting nothing from the British.

getting nothing from the British. I don't believe the British betrayed

us as some historians have argued.

I believe they were on their niece

fighting on several fronts.

Churchill said if we were invaded

Churchill said if we were invaded in force, he would send help. The

force, he would send help. The last thing he would do is expend

thing he would do is expend military forces to help someone else if

Britain itself was under attack.

Britain itself was under attack. If you transpose that to our situation,

of course we needed our Defence

Forces back here. Curtin had to

turn to America. I mean, he

turn to America. I mean, he started and process of the American

and process of the American alliance even though he didn't create it.

But by actually approaching

Roosevelt. He had great respect

Roosevelt. He had great respect for Curtin and Curtin had a mutual

curiousity. They became quite

friendly, even after the row over

the return of the troops where

Churchill unilaterally ordered a

ship of soldiers at sea to Rangoon

without talking to the Australian

Government. Now, you know, Curtin

was by himself. Most of the press,

most of his own diplomats in London,

a large portion of the people,

certainly many Conservative

politicians believe that our troops

should have stayed in the Middle

East or be diverted to Rangoon.

Extraordinary situation. I'm going

to go back to Stephen Barton and

draw a line under that and to

talking toot traps and about the

sacrifice. Stephen Barton, surely

there was a role for nationalism at

a time when let's say Australia was

not under direct threat of invasion,

possibly future threat of invasion.

But on top of that, you have to

remember that New Guinea itself was

part of Australian territory when

the Japanese invaded it? Mmm,

absolutely. And I'm not disputing

this and I am a bit wary of this

attempt that I'm playing this as a

party politics thing that a Liberal

PM would have been better than

Curtin. I think Curtin was a

fantastic PM, I think he was a good

man. I'm just critical of some of

the decisions that were made. And

of course there's obviously a role

for nationalism when you've got

Japanese troops in your territory.

Just the argument I'm making is

Just the argument I'm making is that by that stage the Japanese thrust

was running out of steam. You'd

was running out of steam. You'd had the battle of the Coral Sea. Their

supply lines were overextended and

the panic and fear that existed in

some military and political circles

doesn't always reflect well on who

we think we are as Australians

sometimes. And I think it's

important to sort of address these

things. Let's address what the

troops actually faced. You said

they were running out of steam. I

was pretty shocked Paul Ham by some

of the accounts of the brutality,

the hand to hand fighting, the

shocking brutality of some of these

battles. Particularly, Isurava.

Well, it was described by an

American historian as a knife fight

out of the stone age, Isurava and

out of the stone age, Isurava and at various lay places along the track.

There was a lot of hand to hand

fighting. There was a battle where

seven Australian battalions or

elements of severely depleted

battalions destroyed the Japanese

there. That was described by a

reputable man as the turning point

in the Pacific land war which is an

extraordinary comment to make. You

don't say something is a turning

point in military terms lightly.

point in military terms lightly. To come to your point, the battles

across the Kokoda drak were

according to the veterans I've

spoken to and the diaries I've read

were absolutely shockingly close

range, you know, to be struck by a

bullet at that proximity inflicted

appalling wound. Or a bayonet.

Let's just take the decisive days

Let's just take the decisive days of the battle at Isurava and in one of

those days a 24-year-old called

Bruce Kingsbury gets a VC. He so

inspires his mates that 10 men in

the second 14th battalion end up

becoming the most decorated in

military history? As far as I'm

aware the most decorated section in

military history which is an

incredible feat, that is one

Victoria Cross, three military

medals and several mentions in

dispatches. This section obviously

did some is extraordinary feats of

courage on the Kokoda Track.

courage on the Kokoda Track. You've got to remember that Kokoda really

sums up the Australian character.

There was the incredible

self-sacrifice and is heroism but

also cowardice and diversion,

monumental incompetence and

cock-ups. Some of the heroism is

unsung. There's a young chap from

Monto in Queensland. He was shot

Monto in Queensland. He was shot in a clearing in the middle of nowhere

and, you know, surrounded by jungle

and he was writhing there on the

ground and his mates started to

crawl towards him to get him back.

But the Japanese were there on the

other side weight for this to gun

down his rescuers. He saw this and

raised himself up and invited and

enemy fire and effectively thoo

enemy fire and effectively thoo died for his platoon, his mates. That's

a story which is buried in the

official history which I dug up for

my book and I think it's something

we should all be aware of. But

we should all be aware of. But also the figure of some of the

commanders, Pots Vacey, Paul Kulin.

These are men who should be rescued

from the oblivion to which I

from the oblivion to which I suppose some people have cast consigned

some people have cast consigned them by dismissing the importance of

Kokoda. It's clearly a - Can I

bring Stephen Barton in, we are

nearly running out of time. Can I

just make one point because you

just make one point because you take apart Paul Keating's observation

when he can be there " there can be

no deeper spiritual basis to the

meaning of Australian nation than

the blood spilled at this place,

the blood spilled at this place," given what we're being told here,

isn't there a lrg large element of

truth, isn't that the same sort of

thing that John Howard has been

saying at Gallipoli? Let me address

the previous point. The fact that

this campaign was dogfight brutal

this campaign was dogfight brutal is not in dispute and the fact the

soldiers were in appalling

conditions I don't think anyone

conditions I don't think anyone will argue against and the performance

argue against and the performance of men like Potts and RalphHonor is

amazing. They deserve to be heroes.

What Keating said while he was

there was moving, it's hard not to

be moved by that, but it's not

necessarily true. It's not the

battle that saved Australia. This

is not necessarily the place where

blood was spilled in defence of

Australian liberty. Australian

blood spilt for Australian liberty

has been spilt all around the world,

not just in this one place, not

not just in this one place, not just in New Guinea, buzz because it was

so close to our borders. That's

stretching a point. Blood was

stretched in defence of our liberty.