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Welcome home marches.



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MEDIA RELEASE SENATOR THE HON ROBERT HILL Minister for Defence Leader of the Government in the Senate

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Tuesday, 20 May 2003 63/2003

WELCOME HOME MARCHES

The public will have the opportunity to show their support for Australian Defence Force personnel deployed to the war against terrorism and the coalition to disarm Iraq at welcome home marches next month, Defence Minister Robert Hill said today.

Marches will be held in Sydney on Wednesday 18 June and Perth on Friday 20 June.

The Prime Minister, Senator Hill and Chief of the Defence Force will join other dignitaries and well-wishers at the marches in recognition of the achievements, accomplishments and excellent work by the men and women of the ADF.

The marches are being conducted as soon as possible after the majority of personnel deployed to Operation Falconer return from the Middle East.

They will be made up of ADF personnel and Defence civilians who contributed to Operation Slipper, Australia’s contribution to the war against terrorism and Operations Bastille and Falconer, Australia’s contribution to the coalition to disarm Iraq.

The Chief of the Defence Force recommended marches be held in Sydney and Perth, where most of the deployed forces are based, having regard to the need not to unduly interfere with post-deployment leave and family time for the returning personnel.

The marches will be similar to ANZAC Day parades, with formed groups carrying identifying banners marching through each city before attending a civic reception. The concept is modelled on the welcome home marches conducted for the INTERFET forces on their return from East Timor.

“The marches will be the nation’s opportunity to say thank you to the returning troops,” Senator Hill said.

“While we are holding private welcome home ceremonies for individual units around the country, these marches are a fitting opportunity for the general public to express their support and appreciation for the ADF.

“It is important though not to forget our personnel who remain in the Middle East as part of Operation Catalyst - our contribution to stabilisation and recovery operations in Iraq. They are continuing to make a vital contribution in support of our national interest.”

Media contacts Catherine Fitzpatrick (Senator Hill) 02 6277 7800 0405 351 245

Claire Bannon (Defence) 02 6265 2376 0414 236 352

www.defence.gov.au