Skip to navigation

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

PDF version (129 KB)

Thursday, 16 October 2014


[Greetings omitted]

Our archives are full of the images, stories and diaries of the men and women who served our nations during war and conflict.

They tell their own story, in the words of the people who experienced it first hand, of the impact of war on the human soul, on our character and its impact on the world around them.

Sometimes, the stories told were tall.

More often they were far from the gruesome truth that raged around the person writing home to their loved one.

In a world of super-fast communications, ‘selfies’ and Skype it is hard to imagine the importance of the post, of a single photograph of a loved one, or the power of the written letter to give comfort to those in need.

We rely on these communications from the past in order to understand their story, and to tell the story from the perspective of those who were there.

Today, we are making the old new again, harnessing technology in a way unimaginable 100 years ago.

The images to be projected of New Zealand’s great warriors of the First World War do not glorify or change the circumstances of war.

Instead, as they do in Australia, they remind us of times past, of the impact of service on an ordinary person sent in to battle to undertake extraordinary deeds.

The word Anzac symbolises the friendship, shared experiences and unique bond which exists between our two nations.

The forthcoming Centenary of Anzac, as we know it, and of ‘WW100’ in New Zealand is a chance for our two nations to share the legacy of service and sacrifice with a new generation.

It is our way to ensure that Australians and New Zealanders understand that with service and sacrifice comes an obligation.

An obligation to remember, reflect and commemorate.

Our challenge is to harness these images to ensure the next generation of young New Zealanders, and young Australians, carry the legacy into the future.

We must ensure they vow never to forget and in so doing honour those who shed blood in defence of our free societies.

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 (129 KB)