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Previous Ministers' releases and speeches - Senator The Hon. Michael Ronaldson

Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
Special Minister of State

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Tuesday, 26 November 2013
VA015

FRANCO-AUSTRALIAN RELATIONS FLOURISH IN FIRST WORLD WAR CENTENARY PLANNING

The Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC, Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson, welcomed French Associate Minister for Defence, in charge of Veterans’ Affairs, Mr Kader Arif in Canberra today, continuing their dialogue about commemorations for the Centenary of the First World War.

Senator Ronaldson congratulated Minister Arif on France’s recently-announced centenary program, Mission Centenaire 14-18, and thanked Minister Arif for the close cooperation Australia has received in planning its commemorative activities in France.

"I am grateful for the strong interest and support French officials have shown in working with the Australian Government to commemorate the service and sacrifice of Australians in France," Senator Ronaldson said.

"I am proud of the commitment of our two nations to honour the memory of our shared history through our shared efforts on the Australian Remembrance Trail along the Western Front.

"More than 295,000 Australians served on the Western Front, some 46,000 died and over 130,000 were wounded.

"Our war dead are forever remembered on memorials and war cemeteries in fields and villages across the north of France, including the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux.

“The centenary commemorations on the Western Front are of enormous significance to our two nations and will form an equally important part of Australia’s commemorations being planned for the Centenary of Anzac 2014 – 2018.

"I thank Minister Arif for his continued support and look forward to sharing the experience of this rare opportunity for the world to come together to commemorate the Centenary of the First World War."

The meeting follows the 30-country summit on centenary preparations held in Paris last month. Following today’s meeting, Senator Ronaldson accompanied Minister Arif on a tour of the Australian War Memorial, where they laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  The remains of Australia’s Unknown Soldier, who died in the First World War, were recovered from France in 1993.

Media inquiries:
Minister Ronaldson: Brad Rowswell 6277 7820 or 0417 917 796
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) and Veterans Line can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046

PDF version (105 KB)