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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, 31 January 2014
MINVA004

TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW WITH KARL STEFANOVIC
TODAY - NINE NETWORK

Topics: Centenary of ANZAC ballot closure

KARL STEFANOVIC: With just hours to go, you may not know this, hours to go, until the ANZAC Ballot closes. Australians hoping to attend services at Gallipoli Cove are being encouraged to add their name to the list. We are joined now by the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Senator Michael Ronaldson. Senator, Good morning to you. How does this ballot work?

MINISTER MICHAEL RONALDSON: Morning Karl. Well the ballot opened on 16 November and closes tonight at 11:59pm AEST. So, I am encouraging all your listeners who want to go to Gallipoli next year, they’ll need to get a wriggle on and get this application in because they do close later tonight. There has been a remarkable community response to this
ballot. There’s nearly 30 000 people already in and that was the figure on Wednesday so I can only imagine what it’ll be tonight.

There are 8000 places for Australians, 2000 for our Kiwi counterparts. 3000 double passes in the general ballot and there’s 800 for direct descendants, that’s 400 double passes, and also 400 double passes for veterans.

The Prime Minister and I have written to about 160 widows of First World War Veterans. It’s quite remarkable and the Commonwealth will pay for as many of those ladies who are able to go to Gallipoli.

KARL STEFANOVIC: It is going to be an incredible kind of an event. Historic obviously but for those who get the opportunity to go Gallipoli is an amazing experience that I reckon all Australians should try if they can to get to.

This one’s going to be tough to get to also I know there are going to be anniversaries across the Western Front, Villers-Bretonneux and what not but we’ll get on to those a little bit later. In terms of this one, when will people find out if they’ve been successful and just because there is this ballot does it mean other people can’t go, is that the reason why you’re doing it?

MINISTER: Absolutely. We anticipated there would be an enormous response to the 100th anniversary so that’s why decided to put a ballot in place, so that it could be managed to maximise the chance of people who really want to go to get there.

So people will find out before ANZAC Day this year, they’ve got six months to then finalise their travel plans and no one will be able to get on the site without their ticket and without their passport. So we’re going to make sure there is no obscene scalping in relation to this matter.

I was asked the other day, Karl, how many pollies are going, and the Prime Minister has made it quite clear that this is not going to be a pollie fest. There will only be four of us going- that’s the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, myself, and my shadow counterpart. Although I read this morning that won’t be Don Farrell, he’s off to South Australian Parliament.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Alright, just before we go, we need to show people that website, how they can register for this ballot, or you can tell us, just quickly before we head off.

MINISTER: Yep, if they just go to the DVA website there are links through to Gallipoli.

People who miss out on the direct descendent, we’ll be giving priority for sons and daughters, people who miss out on the direct descendent or the veterans category, will automatically go in to the general ballot so they’ll have a chance.

This is going to be a fantastic event, Karl, and I do encourage everyone to get in by 11:59pm tonight.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Ok, that’s the Department of Veterans’ Affairs website, follow the links there, we’ll whack that up on our website as well. Thanks very much for that Senator, appreciate your time.

MINISTER: Thank you.

 

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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