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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


Australians across the country and around the world have paused today to honour those who have served, and remember those who have given their lives in service to our nation in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations.

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC, Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson, joined a crowd of 4393 on the shores of Gallipoli, paying their respects where the Anzacs landed 99 years ago. More than 50,000 Australians served in the campaign, where more than 18,000 were wounded and 8700 lost their lives.

In his speech at the Dawn Service, Senator Ronaldson reflected upon the sacrifice of those who served during the First World War.

“The men who came ashore along this coastline 99 years ago were, by their own admission, ordinary men. They did not seek glory. Nor did they want their actions to be glorified – for it was they who quickly came to know the true horror of war. That these ordinary men, however, did extraordinary things is beyond doubt,” Senator Ronaldson said.

In Villers-Bretonneux, France, 4500 people paid tribute to the more than 295,000 Australian service personnel who served on the Western Front in France and Belgium, and the 46,000 who made the ultimate sacrifice. In Australia dawn service attendances were at a record high, with around 220,000 Australians participating participating in capital cities alone.

In August this year we will mark the entry of Australia into the First World War and the beginning of the commemoration of the Anzac Centenary. Since the first convoy of servicemen left the shores of Albany in 1914, almost 2,000,000 men and women have worn the uniform of the Royal Australian Navy, the Australian Army and the Royal Australian Air Force with pride and on Anzac Day we remember their service.

“While today we recognise the service of these men and women, we must also recognise that for some, Anzac Day can evoke memories of pain and suffering.”

“On the battlefields, mates looked after their mates. At home this mateship continues and local communities can help. I encourage all Australians to do what you can to offer veterans a helping hand; sit down with them and listen to their stories.”

“Free and confidential counselling and crisis support service is available to veterans and current serving ADF members, and their families, 24 hours a day by phoning Veterans’ Line on 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546),” Senator Ronaldson said.

Australians can join the conversation on how they mark Anzac Day on facebook at, or on with #anzac100 or #anzaccentenary. Education resources and media background materials are available at

Media inquiries: Minister Ronaldson: Brad Rowswell 6277 7820 or 0417 917 796
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203
Editors Note - Estimated attendance at Anzac Day in Australia and overseas*:

Canberra – 37,000
Sydney – 60,000
Brisbane – 20,000
Melbourne – 60,000
Perth – 40,000
Hobart – 6000
Darwin – 2000
Adelaide – 5000
PNG (Bomana and Isurava) – Bomana; 3050 and Isurava; 230
Sandakan – 450
Gallipoli, Turkey – 4393
Villers-Bretonneux, France – 4500

NB* These figures are an estimate and should not be used as final or exact.

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 (45 KB)