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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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Monday, 3 February 2014
MINVA008

TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW WITH STEVE MILLS AND BASIL ZEMPILAS
BREAKFAST – 6PR PERTH

Topics: Centenary of ANZAC ballot closure.

PRESENTER: Now the Gallipoli ballot closed on Friday and they had lots of people that wanted to go; 42,582 to be precise. At the time I thought about doing it and I thought I don't really have a direct descendant from Gallipoli so kind of held out but a lot of people have for various reasons and there's no reason why you wouldn't have a crack. Michael, good morning to you.

MICHAEL RONALDSON: Morning.

PRESENTER: No surprise with the number of people that would've wanted to go a very significant event next year.

MINISTER: Look, it's been a fantastic response and I've - look I'll be honest with you it's more than I thought it would be - but this is just sparked a huge level of interest and excitement throughout the country and 42,500 applications is a huge number.

PRESENTER: Do we know how many from Western Australia had a crack, Michael?

MINISTER: Look I won't do that because it would undoubtedly be the wrong call. We are just going through all the data... well, we start going through the applications now. That's the raw figure, fellahs. So look by the time we take out applications that might be incomplete or...

PRESENTER: Sure.

MINISTER: I don't know where it'll end up. I don't think it'll be a lot less.

PRESENTER: Anecdotally though, is it a cross-section of ages that want to go?

MINISTER: Yes. Yeah, very much so. It's - I say it's just ignited a huge amount of interest and you've only got to go to Gallipoli and watch the young people over there and this is - this has no age barriers…

PRESENTER: [Talks over] Absolutely. When will people actually find out where they've been successful?

MINISTER: Prior to ANZAC Day this year, there's a ballot process, I wouldn't mind a buck for every person that's asked me to get them a ticket but fortunately I can't do that. It's a very well managed process, KPMG are overseeing it. But there are a number of categories. There's direct descendants, there's 400 double passes there. There's 400 double passes for people with qualifying service or have served overseas and there's 3000 double passes in the general category. There's 200 passes for school-kids and their chaperones. And I've also written on behalf of the Prime Minister to 160 widows of World War I veterans. It's just remarkable.

PRESENTER: That's there's still...

MINISTER: I'm going through my mail today and I won't mention the lady's name, but there's someone who's very keen to go and I'm sure there'll be more coming through.

PRESENTER: Good on her. So, Minister, all up how many people will get to go?

MINISTER: There are 10,500. So 8000 Australian, 2000 Kiwis, and the balance is made up with the Turks and the war widows that I was talking about and other people...

PRESENTER: Sure.

MINISTER: So we've got - someone asked me the other day whether it's going to be full of polis, well, it's not. There's only four polis from Australia going.

PRESENTER: Well, that's good.

MINISTER: Well, the Prime Minister was really - he insisted that there was only four, obviously himself as the Prime Minister...

PRESENTER: Sure.

MINISTER: The Leader of the Opposition and myself and my counterpart. So that's it.

PRESENTER: Good call. Alright. Just one quickie. If someone does get a position and then they can't get travel over there or they can't go, will there be a second ballot?

MINISTER: No. The people when they were putting application in, will have ticked a box whether they're happy to go on a waiting list and anyone who can't go...

PRESENTER: Okay.

MINISTER: … It'll go through to the waiting list. But fellahs you saw that those final figures did you on Friday – around 9000 people put applications in last Friday and around 1000 in the last hour.

PRESENTER: Wow.

MINISTER: So pretty amazing.

PRESENTER: Amazing you didn't melt down. Alright well, good luck with it. No, it's a significant event in our history...

MINISTER: Absolutely.

PRESENTER: Hopefully it's done fair and it's sounds like it's done fair.

MINISTER: No, it will be, I can assure you of that.

PRESENTER: Take care. Michael Ronaldson there, Minister in charge of the centenary of ANZAC.

 

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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