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Wednesday, 1 November 2000
Page: 21918

Mrs ELSON (9:55 AM) —It is a great honour to speak today about a unique memorial that was dedicated and consecrated in my electorate last Sunday. This remarkable memorial is a testimony to the many special Australians who have served our nation in peacekeeping forces since 1947. I understand it is the first one of its kind in Australia. Many Australians may not be aware that our peacekeepers have served in more than 26 different areas of operation since the Second World War, most recently and at present in East Timor. Some have paid the ultimate sacrifice and others no doubt continue to suffer as a result of their service. It is very fitting that we have a memorial dedicated to them that will be a lasting reminder to the community of the debt of gratitude we owe to these brave men and women.

I am indeed honoured and privileged to have been able to assist the local residents who worked so tirelessly to make the memorial a reality. I am very proud that it is located within my electorate, at Carl Heck Boulevard in Windaroo Park. There is not the time today to mention all the people who have been involved in this project, but there is a special man who has been the driving force behind the memorial. I have had the honour of knowing Bob Whiley for quite a few years. He is an ex-serviceman and a volunteer member of many local organisations. When his son was one of those brave men who headed to East Timor last year, Bob naturally spent a lot of time thinking about him and his mates, as many Australians did. That was when he set upon the idea of creating a memorial for all Australian peacekeepers, just as we have memorials all around our nation to those who have served in war.

Bob received support and advice from many along the way, and I do apologise if I miss any here. There were the Australian Peacekeepers and Peacemakers Association, which is based at Enoggera in Queensland, and the Gold Coast City Council. The major donors who made the construction possible were Mr and Mrs Mark Paul, Mr and Mrs Greg Burns, Denice and Phil Connolly, Tony and Gail Stephens, Mr and Mrs Allan Harbour, Brian and Helene Gassman, Mr and Mrs Grealey and Mr and Mrs John Jarrett. Along with them were other local businesses: Albert Crane Hire, Kennards Beenleigh, Trades and Labour Beenleigh and Mount Warren Nursery.

The special guests at Sunday's dedication included Major General Simon Willis, Commander Ken McBryde, Brigadier Pat McIntosh, Air Commodore David Dunlop, and Mark Ney of the Federal Police, amongst many others. It was a very moving ceremony, and the memorial and park setting are absolutely stunning. I am sure the memorial will serve as a lasting reminder that world peace will only be achieved through the ongoing efforts of free and democratic countries such as ours. I congratulate and thank all local residents involved, especially Bob and Sandra Whiley.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Nehl) —Order! In accordance with standing order 275A, the time for members' statements has concluded.