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Thursday, 28 June 2018
Page: 4306

Senator WHISH-WILSON (Tasmania) (12:02): I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator WHISH-WILSON: I want to talk a little bit about Hamel. It's a place I've visited on the Western Front, and I took the diary of my great-grandfather, who served there. And my Uncle Charlie won the Distinguished Service Medal very close to Hamel. So this is an issue that I take very seriously. I want to say today that it's fine to commemorate the sacrifice of Australian soldiers, US soldiers and other allied soldiers at a place like Hamel, but to tie it with blind allegiance to our US alliance is, I think, quite offensive. The Greens have raised as an issue the need for us to revisit our alliance. It's a perfectly rational thing. This motion does point out that that alliance dates back to the 1940s. It's high time we reviewed our relationship with the US, but to somehow tie it to a historic battle that is personal for many of us is offensive.