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Tuesday, 11 April 2000
Page: 15669

Mrs HULL (2:56 PM) —My question is addressed to the Minister for Veterans' Affairs. Having Kapooka army base in my electorate of Riverina, I know that there is concern for the two remaining Anzac veterans who are now too frail to safely travel to Gallipoli for the Anzac Day services. Minister, what steps is the government taking to ensure that the Anzac legend and the spirit of the Gallipoli veterans are continued?

Mr BRUCE SCOTT (Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence) —I thank the member for Riverina. As she outlined in her question, her electorate does indeed have the Kapooka army base, which is the home of soldiers as well as having a very important Royal Australian Air Force base. As we approach the 85th anniversary of the landings at Gallipoli, there are only two original Gallipoli veterans left in Australia today. They are Mr Alec Campbell, who lives in Hobart, and Mr Roy Longmore of Melbourne. I am pleased to inform the House that this morning I accompanied the Prime Minister to the Australian War Memorial where Alec Campbell—who I believe we are very lucky to have with us in Canberra today, because his health allows him to be with us; Mr Roy Longmore was not able to travel here because of ill health—symbolically passed the Anzac legend into the hands of a new generation.

At that ceremony this morning Mr Campbell presented an Australian flag to six young service men and women representing the three arms of the Australian Defence Force. These young Australians are some of the finest members of the Australian Defence Force. I would like to refer to them, because I know that they are with us in the Speakers Gallery today. Sublieutenant Rupert Guthrie joined the Royal Australian Navy in March last year and is currently at HMAS Creswell. Seaman Pamela Eadie graduated last year as a combat systems operator and was `recruit of her intake'. She is currently posted to the Anzac frigate HMAS Arunta. Lieutenant Glenn Mathews joined the Army in 1991 and was part of the Special Air Service Regiment until 1994. Last year he graduated from the Royal Military College where he received the Sword of Honour for outstanding military achievement. Private David Bower was awarded the Skill at Arms prize as the most outstanding student on his recruit course and is noted for leadership. He has just returned from active duty in East Timor.

Flight Lieutenant Richard Rahdon joined the Royal Australian Air Force as an undergraduate medical student, and last year was awarded the Royal Australian Air Force Officer Qualities Award. Aircraft Woman Trina Tonkin joined the Royal Australian Air Force last year and was awarded the 1999 Academic Dux and Personal Qualities Award. Her great-grandfather saw service on the Gallipoli Peninsula and was awarded the Military Medal. I am sure her great-grandfather would be very proud that she will be representing—along with the other five—the young face of the Australian Defence Force today.

They will take an Australian flag to Gallipoli where it will be flown on Anzac Day at the first dawn service to be held at the new commemorative site on the Gallipoli Peninsula which has been developed by our government and also the government of New Zealand with a tremendous amount of support from the people of Turkey and governments at both a local and state level in Turkey. The new site is to be opened by our Prime Minister, together with the Prime Minister of New Zealand, and the Leader of the Opposition has been asked to represent the opposition at that service.

Mr Speaker, the new site has been made necessary because of the increasing numbers of young people wanting to attend the dawn service at Gallipoli. It is no longer possible to hold it where it has been held for a number of years at the Ari Burnu War Cemetery because of the damage the numbers could potentially do to that cemetery. A lot of research has gone into the choosing of the new site which in fact is called the Sphinx site. It is in fact a site named by the Anzacs themselves. If you read the history of the first landing, you will notice that the 3rd Field Ambulance arrived at North Beach, just where this new site is, and included in the 3rd Field Ambulance on that early dawn landing was John Simpson Kirkpatrick. So in many ways it is a very historic site and one that I think is going to continue to be able to cater for the increasing numbers of young Australians and New Zealanders wanting to make the pilgrimage to that site.

We in government—and all of us—have a duty before us to ensure that the Anzac legend never dies and we must make sure that forever this possession, which was given to each of us by people like Alec Campbell and Roy Longmore, never dies and that the younger generations of Australians take that legend with them throughout this new century. I know that these six members of the ADF will be representing the young people and new generations of Australians in this new millennium. I am sure you will agree that this gives us the confidence to say that the Anzac legend will never die while it is in the hands of the younger generations of Australians.