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Youth Forums to link generations



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MEDIA RELEASET he H on C o n S c i a c c a MP M i n i s t e r f o r V e t e r a n s ' A f f a i r s C9/95 9 March 1995

YOUTH FORUMS TO LINK GENERATIONS

MORE THAN ONE THOUSAND high school students from every State and Territory in Australia will gather during the next two months to pay tribute to, and learn from, the heroic generation of 50 years ago that endured a depression and won a war to deliver the freedom and quality of

life that is enjoyed by Australian's today.

As part of the Federal Government's Australia Remembers Program, Youth Forums designed to unlock dormant family and community histories of World War 11 are being held in capital cities during March and throughout Regional Australia during April.

The Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Con Sciacca, said the Australia Remembers Youth Forum process was a vital part of the Program designed to draw linkages between a young generation of today and a young generation of 50 years ago.

"The corporate memory of today's youth seems to stop around the Vietnam War and most of the views they have on that war have been shaped by Hollywood.

"For a country that is just over 200 years old in terms of white settlement, I find it disgraceful that important moments in our history are already being lost to time," Mr Sciacca said. "If you were looking for a single moment in the history

of this country when virtually every man, woman and child cheered in unison and thought the same relieved thoughts it was at the end of World War 11.

"This was crunch time for Australia. Our sovereignty was under threat. Our families were under threat. The Japanese had already made the propaganda films to use on Australians for post invasion settlement. And what do our young people know about this - very little."

The Youth Forums are being hosted by the State and Territory Australia Remembers Committees and have been designed by Tim Gurry and Bob Lewis of Ryebuck Media Pty Ltd, the company which won the tender to produce the national Australia Remembers Education Kit to be distributed to every school

in Australia prior to VE Day.

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Mr Sciacca said that he had written to every high school principal in Australia regarding the Australia Remembers Youth Forum process and the response had been fantastic.

"The phones have been running hot in every State with inquiries, and applications have been pouring in. This is a project that schools can see real value in."

Mr Sciacca said he urged all school principals to get behind the Australia Remembers Program, to make sure that their students are given an opportunity to rediscover lost histories that have played a fundamental role in the shaping of this country, and to work actively within their schools and local communities to develop appropriate commemorative projects..

The Australia Remembers Youth Forum program will culminate in Brisbane on VP Day (15 August) where participants of a National Youth Forum will be involved in the symbolic handover of "freedom torches" from men and women who fifty years ago secured this country for their future.

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For further information contact Greg Rudd in the Minister's Office on (06) 277 7820 or Tim Gurry from Ryebuck Media on 0418 548 518.

Please find attached for further information a sample copy of the letter to school principals, a draft outline of the Youth Forum programme, and the dates of the Youth Forums in each State and Territory.