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Monday, 7 November 2016
Page: 2872

Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (11:24): I move:

That this House:

(1) notes that:

(a) 11 November is Remembrance Day;

(b) on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month Australians observe one minute's silence in memory of those who died or suffered in all wars and armed conflicts;

(c) 2016 marks the 98th anniversary of the Armistice which ended World War I; and

(d) on Remembrance Day we pay our respects and honour the memory of those who have served in our country's defence forces;

(2) encourages all Australians to attend a commemoration ceremony in their local community, and to pause for a minute of silence to remember those who have served in the Australian Defence Force and made the ultimate sacrifice;

(3) remembers:

(a) those who lost their lives serving their country; and

(b) all who came home, wounded, or bearing the hidden scars of war; and

(4) recognises that the return to life in Australia, the journey from battlefield to towns and suburbs, can be a difficult one for those who serve and for the people who love and care for them.

I am very pleased to move this motion, which recognises the importance of our national day of remembrance to honour the many service men and women who left their homes and loved ones to fight for their country, and to remember the sacrifice of those who never returned and those who returned but whose service left them physiologically and psychologically wounded.

As members are aware, this year marks the 98th year since the Armistice was signed, ending World War I. At 5 am, German government representatives agreed to the Armistice, which would see their forces withdraw and surrender at 11 am on 11 November 1918. And so, at 11 am on 11 November, silence fell on the Western Front for the first time in four years. Over the course of the four years of World War I, more than 416,000 Australians volunteered for service, with 324,000 leaving their families behind to serve overseas. At the signing of the Armistice, more than 60,000 Australians had lost their lives, including 45,000 who died on the Western Front in France and Belgium and more than 8,000 who died in Gallipoli. At 11 am, we pause to remember these men and the sacrifice they made. We remember both those who died and those whose lives were irrevocably changed. We remember the bravery of our Anzacs—the determination and courage of those who fought at Gallipoli, Fromelles, Pozieres, Bullecourt, Ypres and more. We remember the acts of bravery and endurance of our men fighting in these conflicts. This year marks 100 years since a number of these important battles, including Fromelles and Pozieres.

After World War II, Armistice Day was renamed Remembrance Day as an opportunity to commemorate all those who have died for Australia in wars and conflicts. The 11th of November is an important day for all Australians to remember the 102,824 Australians who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defence of our country over the past century. We pause to remember the sacrifice by those who put their lives on the line. We pause to remember their families and friends who were left behind. We pause to remember those who left and never returned. We pause to remember those who came home but whose lives were forever changed. And we pause to offer our thanks for and acknowledgement of their sacrifice.

The contribution and sacrifice of Australians has been and continues to be significant, with the First World War, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and conflicts in East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq, amongst others. Indeed, we must remember the peacekeeping operations Australia has also contributed to. Remembrance Day gives us the opportunity to acknowledge and thank those who are currently serving both at home and overseas. It is a day to reflect on the sacrifice and courage of those current serving men and women who are deployed around the world. It is a day to reaffirm our commitment to support both our current and our ex-serving Defence personnel. I believe it is our duty to assist our veterans, who put their lives on hold to serve their country. To those whose lives are never the same again and to those who are no longer able to live their lives in the same way, we owe not only our gratitude but our unwavering support for them into the future.

Over the last two weeks, I was fortunate enough to join our Australian Defence Force parliamentary exchange program, which visited our operations in the Middle East. During my visit, I was reminded of the extent of the sacrifice made by our current serving Defence personnel. These men and women leave their friends, families and communities behind to serve our country. I was particularly struck by the professionalism of each and every person I met. It was a privilege to meet so many inspirational Defence Force members doing extraordinary things. The contribution they are making is incredibly valuable and they deserve our utmost respect and support. I have never been more proud to be an Australian than when witnessing the high calibre of our Defence personnel in action over my time in the last two weeks.

So this Friday, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, let us remember those who never made it home. Let us commit as a nation to support those whose service has left them in need of support. And let us recognise those Defence personnel who have served and continue to serve our country.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Rob Mitchell ): Is the motion seconded?

Ms Brodtmann: I second the motion and reserve my right to speak.