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Tuesday, 14 June 2011
Page: 5988


Mr SNOWDON (LingiariMinister for Veterans' Affairs, Minister for Defence Science and Personnel and Minister for Indigenous Health) (18:38): Thank you for the questions. I will make one observation: in terms of Anzac Cove, it is very much as you left it. There are no permanent seating arrangements, that I am aware of. The toilet facilities are all brought in and, as I understand it, that will continue. We have real limitations on that site, and one of the issues is people management. Although we had 7,000 or so there this year, there is an upper limit to how many people can be managed at that site. I met with the Turkish Defence minister not only to discuss the Anzac celebration for this year but to introduce myself and to start a conversation about the centenary of Anzac. That conversation is ongoing. There have been department to department discussions around the general issues. There is ongoing discussion about how we should move these things forward. The Anzac commission has made recommendations to government, which we will respond to in due course. You mentioned a re-enactment; that clearly will not be happening, in my view. Nevertheless, we will have an advisory board which, hopefully, we will announce the chair of in the near future. We think that advisory board will have a number of subcommittees which will look at things like education, youth—a range of issues—and which will provide advice to government and have discussion with the community.

Clearly, the centenary of Anzac is a lot bigger than us. We have already started conversations with the French. I have met the British minister for defence and opened a conversation with him. I have met the New Zealand Minister for Defence and opened a conversation with him. There are obviously things that we need to do and we cannot presume to know the outcomes of those discussions before we have in fact had them. We know what our priorities might be. I think it is generally accepted that we are leading the pack in terms of our awareness of what we need to be doing and the need to engage with people. We want to do that but we will not be doing anything without agreement; that is the first thing.

I will just deal with Milne Bay very quickly. I am not aware of any proposals for Milne Bay, but there may well be. It is certainly something that I will talk to the department about because, clearly, 70th anniversaries will abound next year. The fall of Singapore, the bombing of Darwin, the occupation of Timor-Leste by the 2/2nd Commandos and Kokoda are very important in our military history, so there are a range of events next year which we will have to have a mind to, and I am sure that Milne Bay will be one of them.

Turning back to Turkey, the responsibility for managing the people still rests with the Turkish government. We are guests when we arrive there and we remain guests while we are there. We have to be very active and involved in what we do but, ultimately, it is the responsibility of the Turkish government. Any works done there are to preserve the site and grave consideration is given to ensuring that the site's heritage is considered; the Turkish government has assured us of that. The recent commencement of construction of the seawall, and you would be aware of the area, will ensure that Anzac Cove is preserved for future generations. I hope I have answered some of your questions. I am happy to engage on a continuing basis with you about those issues.