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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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Friday, 25 April 2014
MINVA027

TRANSCIPT
MORNINGS – ABC NEWS RADIO

Topics: Anzac Day Dawn Service

PRESENTER: The Veterans’ Affairs Minister is Michael Ronaldson and he joins us now as he makes his way to Anzac Cove. Senator Ronaldson, good morning.

MICHAEL RONALDSON: Good morning Laura.

PRESENTER: Now have you had a chance to assess the scene at Gallipoli in the lead up to the Dawn Service there and whether there is a typically strong turnout?

MINISTER: I haven’t arrived at the peninsula yet, we’re on the ferry now just leaving Çanakkale and if there’s a sudden amount of noise you’ll know what’s happening because you’ll hear the engines firing up so I’ll apologise in advance.

Laura I came here on Monday for a series of meetings with the Defence Minister, the Foreign Minister, the Cultural Minister; and the Turkish Government and the Australian Government are at one that next year at the 100th anniversary all our resources will be put in to make sure this is the success it should be.

I was down on the peninsula on Wednesday to make sure that those things that needed to be done are being done and the planning for next year is well underway and of course we are having a trial run today. So I am as confident as I can be with these things that next year will be a great success, as it should be.

PRESENTER: And how are preparations going for next year?

MINISTER: Very well. We’ve got a very large team over here, we’ve put in place most of the processes for the checking of tickets and security.

As you would be aware there is a ballot process that was started under the previous government which was completed by us. There were some ten and a half thousand tickets available for next year and they’ve all been fully allocated. 8000 for the Australians, 2000 for the New Zealanders and 500 for official invitations which includes the Turkish Government and we expect a large contingent there.

PRESENTER: When you mentioned that you were having a trial run this year, is that going to be similar things to what’s happening next year?

MINISTER: Well it will be. There are three checkpoints on the way in to ensure that only people who do have tickets and valid tickets can get on to the peninsula. As you’ll appreciate there are some significant VIPs coming next year and we want to ensure that not only the VIPs but the Australians and New Zealanders who are there are safe so there are very significant security measures which will be put in place to ensure that occurs.

PRESENTER: You’ve also met with a lot of Turkish officials this past week, are they taking these 100th anniversary commemorations coming up as seriously as Australia is?

MINISTER: They’re very serious about it Laura. In fact there was a Cabinet meeting on Monday where the Turkish Cabinet decided they would actually form a new agency to ensure the success of the events next year. And that will bring together all the government agencies that had previously been somewhat in isolation. So that will bring them all together, and we are obviously pleased about that.

PRESENTER: Is there a real sense of cooperation going on? Or are there still some problems that need to be ironed out?

MINISTER: Oh no. The Turkish Government and the Turkish people as you’d be aware, I mean they are extraordinary and generous hosts.

I mean, 100 years ago there was massive, massive loss of life on both sides and we’re very, very grateful to the Turkish people. They are great hosts, they are very generous and we are working very, very closely together.

PRESENTER: Now you’ll be delivering an address at the Dawn Service at Gallipoli this year on behalf of Australia, can you give us a bit of a flavour on what you might be likely to tell the crowd later today?

MINISTER: Well Laura, I will be referring to the massive losses, I will be making reference to the loss in particular in rural Australia and rural New Zealand as well, where they were very deeply felt. As you are aware I’m from Ballarat and those losses in rural Australia were very, very dramatic.

And also my message will be to the young people there that there has been enormous sacrifice made by many people over the last 99 years to ensure that we enjoy the relative freedoms today and that is precious and it must be protected.

PRESENTER: Well Senator Ronaldson, I appreciate your time.

MINISTER: Thanks very much, Laura.

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

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