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Thursday, 16 May 2013
Page: 3579

Mrs PRENTICE (Ryan) (09:55): Anzac Day has a significant place in the hearts and minds of all Australians. It is an opportunity to take the time to pause and remember those who have given their lives so that we can enjoy the freedoms today that we so often take for granted. Anzac Day is always a special time for the residents of Ryan, particularly for those who have friends and family based at the Gallipoli Barracks at Enoggera. Thousands of local residents attended dawn services, ceremonies and marches across the electorate on Anzac Day to pay tribute to the service men and women who have served overseas. As the daughter of a serviceman and the mother of a soldier who was serving overseas—he returned home early this morning—I was honoured to be invited to take part in and attend a number of local services. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many schools, veterans organisations, aged-care homes and especially the RSLs in the electorate who held such special ceremonies this year.

Anzac Day is a particularly important day for so many Australians and our military history would not be complete without remembering the veterans of the Boer War. The Boer War was fought between 1899 and 1902 and ranks third behind the two world wars for the most Australian casualties. Sadly, to this day, there is still no national memorial to honour those who fought so courageously in this battle which marks the birth of the Australian Defence Force, which has served this country so well these past 110 years.

As a member of parliament, I regularly receive petitions on a range of subjects. However, I must confess that last Tuesday, 14 May, was the first time that a petition was delivered to me on horseback. My colleague Senator Ronaldson, the shadow minister for veterans' affairs, and I were the recipients of a petition with 10,200 signatures calling on the federal government to support a national Boer War Memorial on Anzac Parade in Canberra to honour the 23,000 men and women of Australia who served our country in the Boer War, some 1,000 of whom gave their lives. I particularly want to pay tribute to the Vietnam veteran and Boer War veteran descendant, retired Lieutenant Colonel Miles Farmer OAM from Queensland and Captain Mike Fitzgerald, in Boer War mounted light horse uniform, and his horse, Boy, who came from Sydney especially to present the position.

Like many other families, I have a special interest as my great uncle, Major Edmund Righetti, volunteered as a private to join the Victorian first contingent to go to the Boer War in 1899. He was severely wounded, invalided home and after convalescence returned to South Africa and rose through the ranks. The men and women involved in this conflict deserve to be remembered with a lasting and fitting memorial, and I urge everyone to support this significant project.