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Deputy Prime Minister discusses Anzac Day; Cheryl Kernot; and Peter Costello.



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The Hon Julia Gillard MP

Minister for Education. Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Minister for Social Inclusion. Deputy Prime Minister 28 April, 2008

Transcript

Radio Interview ABC 774, 10.30am Friday, 25 April 2008

Anzac Day, Cheryl Kernot, Peter Costello

JON FAINE:

.Today, we’ve had a woman representing the Australian Government for the first time in Melbourne on Anzac

Day. Julia Gillard, welcome to the ABC studios here.

JULIA GILLARD:

Good morning Jon.

JON FAINE:

Do you have a family history of military service?

JULIA GILLARD:

Well I do on the UK side. Obviously I was born in the United Kingdom. My grandfather fought in World War I.

He actually went over as a young man who lied about his age in order to enlist and went and fought in World

War I and thankfully came back.

JON FAINE:

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Do you know what he did?

JULIA GILLARD:

Not in great detail no. My mother has got some photographs and some of the records but it wasn’t something

that he tended to talk about so she doesn’t have the complete history.

JON FAINE:

Are you curious?

JULIA GILLARD:

Yes I am curious. I am not sure how we would find it out given the remove of time now and my mother is

effectively the only surviving child in that part of my family. So I think that history is going to be lost, we are

just going to have to muse on it.

JON FAINE:

You can do the research but I warn you it’s a two edged sword. I had some friends who he’d made some

enquiries into what they thought was a magnificent family military history to discover that in fact his ancestor,

I won’t reveal too much about who it was, but according to family legend was a hero of Gallipoli but in fact

he’d been discharged from service in Cairo and never made it to the Gallipoli shores but the family were never

told. They didn’t know and they’d been given a different version of the facts.

JULIA GILLARD:

Some things are better left unsaid. Well I’ve got no reason to assume Jon that my mother’s father was in any

such predicament.

[Laugh]

JON FAINE:

I say nothing, I say nothing. This morning we’ve spoken to Angus Houston who is the head of the Defence

Force and we agreed that we are not very good at balancing [inaudible] sentimentality on the one hand and

actually passing on the history, building [inaudible] on the other. What can we do?

JULIA GILLARD:

I think we have got a little bit better at it though. I think maybe for a long period of time it was a bit taboo for

men to come back from war and to talk about how bad it was, some of the things they saw and to suggest that

that had affected them in an ongoing way. I think that culture of the men repressing their emotions and

pretending it didn’t hurt was predominant. But in the last few years I think we have seen a lot of breaking down of that, television shows and other insights into what people actually went through and I hope we

capture and record that history before its going to be lost to us. And certainly in terms of contemporary

serving personnel I think that they now understand that it is not only the right thing for them to come back

and tell their stories personally because people need to talk but its actually the right thing for the nation. We

should understand what war is like, what combat is like, what its like for someone who is deployed overseas.

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We shouldn’t have a romantic vision of that, we should have a real vision.

JON FAINE:

And is that in part then about rethinking [inaudible] education, one of your responsibilities?

JULIA GILLARD:

Certainly is one of my responsibilities and we are working our way through this national curriculum process at

the moment led by our National Curriculum Board with Barry McGaw at the helm of it. And I think they are

going to have some interesting debates about history and history curriculum. But certainly the Government’s

been very clear. We would like school children to be studying this nation’s story from the very earliest of ages

through until secondary school. Obviously as children move through their various studies they are going to get

more and more critical and more and more reflective so the early study of history is a simpler task and where

you would expect secondary schools students to be at.

JON FAINE:

We you are Vietnam War protestor?

JULIA GILLARD:

No I am a little bit younger than that Jon, so it just passed me by, so I…

JON FAINE:

Would you have been?

JULIA GILLARD:

I suspect I would have been but it is a little bit hard to put yourself in a time and place. I remember the

imagery on TV and certainly when I came into student politics because I was involved at Adelaide University

when I went there, it was contemporary, people who were still around the campus could talk about those times

but I was still in secondary school at the time it was most hot.

JON FAINE:

Have those scars healed do you think, overwhelmingly?

JULIA GILLARD:

I think they largely have. I think it was a very difficult period after Vietnam. I think for the returning veterans

a shocking period where repudiation of the war was misinterpreted by some to mean repudiation of the

veterans and I think we have moved beyond that now and the integration of the veterans’ community, into the

RSL and into the movement of veterans I think is much more solid now.

JON FAINE:

Have you visited any of the battle fields in Europe?

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JULIA GILLARD:

No I haven’t. I would like to but it’s not something that I have been able to do yet. Certainly some of my

colleagues are there visiting in the course of commemorating Anzac Day…

JON FAINE:

[Inaudible] Joel Fitzgibbon this morning.

JULIA GILLARD:

Yes. But I haven’t had the opportunity. It would be tremendous I think to see the country, to see geography of

it. I think you can read but until you actually see something and particularly the landscape, the terrain, it’s

hard to get the clear image in your mind.

CATHY BOLAND:

It’s very difficult. Now that you are in the role of Deputy Prime Minister, do you feel an extra added

responsibility in how you represent the country on days like today, particularly if you haven’t been to some of

those places?

JULIA GILLARD:

I think in terms of the kind of role today, we are not a very formal people, I think that that’s great about

Australians. And so even in what is a very solemn occasion, leading the march, you still have people on the

sidelines calling out ‘hey Julia’ and ‘good on you Julia’ and people coming over to get photographs and stuff

like that so I think that lack of formality, it’s a tremendously Australian thing I hope we never lose it . It means

whilst we have the sense of occasion and the rituals that go with a sense of occasion, there is a nice little Aussie

overlay to it.

CATHY BOLAND:

Is there anything particularly you’d like to see done, is there any changes or whatever to the way we reflect and

remember?

JULIA GILLARD:

I think we’ve got to let it organically keep developing and I think it is. I go to the dawn service in my local

community before I come here on Anzac Day, I was there this morning in Melton. And it’s basically the

ceremony continues to be rolled out the way Melton has done it for a long, long period of time but the crowd just grows and grows. It would have grown…

CATHY BOLAND:

Who are they?

JULIA GILLARD:

Young families with kids; literally, mum, dad and the two kids if you were going to do the stereotype but 8, 9,

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10 year old children there so early in the morning holding their candles.

JON FAINE:

People from immigrant communities?

JULIA GILLARD:

Including people from immigrant communities.

JON FAINE:

Is it an inclusive day because I think it used to be seen as a day for veterans, whereas it’s becoming something

much more inclusive now but I am not sure what that is.

JULIA GILLARD:

I think that is a little bit hard to tell but sometimes I think you’ve got to leave well enough alone and let it grow

itself. One thing I noticed this morning was in the speeches which we have for the dawn service in Melton, for

the first time in my recollection someone talked about the death rate on the Turkish side and the

extraordinary number of casualties on the Turkish side…

JON FAINE:

You mean in Gallipoli.

JULIA GILLARD:

Yes, in Gallipoli and I though well that’s just a little change, a little movement in a local community’s

ceremony which is obviously someone’s view that both sides of history should now be told. So I think it is

growing itself and its growing in a nice way. I wouldn’t be someone who recommended any profound changes.

I think repetition is good, it gives the sense of ritual and occasion and then letting Australians feed into that

and mould it in their own way is the best way to make sure it continues into the future. And you would have to

say its working because every year the crowds swell and with young people.

JON FAINE:

It’s not because of anything the government’s done.

JULIA GILLARD:

No its not and I think the young people are there and indeed some of the people said it to me this morning -

talking to people in the crowd and you say its tremendous that you bought your young daughter with you or

your young son and they say ‘no she bought me’ or ‘he bought me’. It’s actually the children that are saying to

mum or dad, get up lets go, I want to go to the dawn service. So when that’s happening, that’s a community

movement it’s not anything government’s doing, it’s not a sense of obligation that has somehow been put on

people. It’s a genuine sense they want to go and that’s very special.

CATHY BOLAND:

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But that also works on both sides. I was in Turkey twenty years ago, backpacking with a friend and we went to

Gallipoli. It wasn’t Anzac Day, we just wanted to go. Two young Turkish blokes said we’ll take you; put us in

their car, drove us out there, stood at a respectable distance while we looked at the Australian memorials that

were there, stood at lone pine and looked down at the beaches where the soldiers had tried to fight their way

up. And we talked about both sides on the way back, it was incredible.

JON FAINE:

Male friend or female friend?

CATHY BOLAND:

I was with a female friend.

JON FAINE:

So two young Australian girls?

CATHY BOLAND:

Yes.

JON FAINE:

And you’re surprised two young Turkish blokes were happy to take you?

CATHY BOLAND:

That’s true Jon.

[Laugh]

JON FAINE:

It’s not a great mystery to me.

JULIA GILLARD:

I was just about to say that’s either a beautiful story of international harmony, or…

[Laugh]

JON FAINE:

[Inaudible] A caller has suggested to you Julia Gillard that your family history details could be found easily

these days through the necessary searches. The Australian War Memorial can put you in touch also with the

British War Memorial. I am sure its all there if you need it.

JULIA GILLARD:

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I stand corrected. I will get onto it.

CATHY BOLAND:

With all your spare time.

JULIA GILLARD:

With all my spare time.

JON FAINE:

Speaking of family history, [inaudible] in the newspaper today Cheryl Kernot is back in Australia offering

herself for gainful employment. Is there a role for Cheryl Kernot in the Rudd Government?

JULIA GILLARD:

Well there is certainly a role for Cheryl to contribute in what I hope is going to be a community wide debate

about social inclusion. This is a government policy to basically say there are still pockets of disadvantage in

our community and how can we overcome it. Cheryl’s got something to contribute to that discussion, not only

from her Australian political experience but overseas she has worked in the social inclusion field in the UK.

We are not hiring social inclusion experts but we are certainly calling on people to involve themselves in the

debate, the community debate around it and working with government. When you are trying to address

entrenched disadvantage in communities you are only going to do that if its in a consultative way and the

community has a voice and I think Cheryl is going to be one of those voices.

JON FAINE:

I found it interesting she wasn’t in the 2020 Summit.

JULIA GILLARD:

No but I am not sure whether Cheryl sought to go to the 2020 Summit, I don’t know that. But obviously there

were 1002 people there, I am informed and many people who could have been contributing ideas didn’t seek

to go because it didn’t suit them for whatever reason.

JON FAINE:

Alright, final question. The other news this week has been that Peter Costello signed a deal to publish his

diaries. Are you keeping a diary Julia Gillard?

JULIA GILLARD:

[Laugh] No I’m not Jon. And I don’t know whether Peter Costello kept a diary or now he is going to write

reflections. I am always in awe of people who have got the discipline to run 17, 18 hour days to then sit home

and write about it. But I find living through it once is enough. People always say to me did you see x or y on

order in the house when they replay Question Time and I always say, no I sat through it the first time you

know, I don’t have to watch it on TV. [Laugh] And I think I feel that about my life generally I have lived it

through the first time so I don’t have to record it as well.

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JON FAINE:

So you’re in the moment.

JULIA GILLARD:

More in the moment than a diary keeper.

[Laugh]

JON FAINE:

Well I am sure you’ll have your fair share of things to write about in due course and of course you got to be

Deputy Prime Minister, something Peter Costello never did let alone Prime Minister so there you go. Thank

you for your time this morning on Anzac Day and sharing your thoughts on the things of this day.

JULIA GILLARD:

Thank you.

JON FAINE:

it’s been terrific to have you here. The Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.

END

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