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Thursday, 11 May 2000
Page: 16372

Ms BURKE (11:12 AM) —Today I would like to make mention of three different groups of people in my electorate who, in their own way, have struggled against adversity and some are still struggling. The first, I am proud to say, is Roy Longmore who is a resident at the Elizabeth Gardens Hostel in Burwood and has reached the terrific age of 106. Roy is one of only two surviving Australian soldiers from the Gallipoli campaign. Roy volunteered along with thousands of other Australian men and landed in Gallipoli during 1915. During his service he was badly injured and was sent to England for medical care. In fact, a British surgeon recommended that his leg be amputated until a French surgeon weighed in with contrary advice. I am pleased to say that the French surgeon won out and Roy still very much has his leg today.

In 1920, after a significant time in hospital, Roy returned to Australia, where he met his wife. They had one child, Eric, who I have also had the pleasure of meeting. Roy established a private taxi company with his brother in Melbourne. It was probably one of the first of its kind considering the time that we are talking about. Roy resides at the Elizabeth Gardens Hostel, rather than the nursing home, as he is still quite mobile and alert. On behalf of all Chisholm residents and fellow Australians, I thank him and again congratulate him on reaching the magnificent age of 106.

With each passing year the commemorations surrounding the tragic Anzac campaign grow in size, as witnessed by the thousands of Australians making the pilgrimage to Turkey on Anzac Day this year. Gallipoli must stand as one of Australia's most unique historical events. Here was a campaign where none of the military objectives were met. In fact, in military and human terms, it was an unmitigated disaster, with 7,600 Australians losing their lives and 19,000 Australians being wounded in addition to the horrific losses of other allied and Turkish troops.

Gallipoli stands as testimony to the Australian values we all hold dear: honour, friendship and courage. Our troops held their own and did not run away, despite the ill-conceived mission that they had been doomed to prosecute by our imperial masters. Importantly, this was the first major campaign in which Australian and New Zealand troops fought under their own commanders, and in the end they executed a tactical withdrawal with great success. Again, I say to Roy: congratulations on your 106th birthday. Many people have made the point that to remember Gallipoli is not to glorify war but rather to honour those who served our country so bravely, respectfully acknowledge their sacrifices and remind ourselves that wherever possible we must avoid the horrendous cost of war.

The second group of people I would like to turn to are another brave lot of men: the AMWU members at the ACI plant in Lexton Road, Box Hill. These workers at the ACI plant were in the middle of negotiating an enterprise bargaining agreement when the company locked them out before Christmas. These 84 men have been locked out for 18 weeks. I am pleased to say now that sense has prevailed and the dispute has found a resolution. After 18 weeks without pay, these men have been able to return to work. I would like to congratulate all the people at the ACI plant but particularly the shop steward, Alex, the sacrificial lamb in this dispute, who has accepted a redundancy to end part of this horrendous dispute. After 18 weeks a resolution to this dispute has been found, and I would like to congratulate all the people at ACI for their efforts to resolve this dispute. I am pleased that they are all now back at work.

Finally, I would like to talk about not just our fictional `John' and `Wendy' who are victims of the GST, but the real Grant and Karen Griffin. Grant and Karen are true GST victims. They are some of the 800 families caught up in the middle of the collapse of Avonwood Homes. Tragically, Grant's and Karen's home was almost completed when the company went into liquidation. Why do I say it is part of the GST? Even the liquidators have said that the collapse has been brought on by the GST. The Prime Minister has been on the radio saying that the Premier of Victoria, Steve Bracks, can actually help with this dispute. I do not think so, because the states have been given no compensation to alleviate this problem. Grant and Karen, who are currently renting, are looking at moving into a caravan. They can no longer afford to pay their rent and a mortgage on a house they cannot enter. They are also going to be up for the GST by virtue of the fact that their home will not be completed until after the event, even though they sought to have it started beforehand. (Time expired)