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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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Wednesday, 22 October 2014


Topics: Deadline to confirm details for 2015 Gallipoli Dawn Service.

GARY CLARE: The Gallipoli celebrations next year of course are going to be huge, and so many people, you may remember, went into a ballot to see if they could go over to Gallipoli. Because it's a limited space.

Minister Ronaldson says while no decisions have been made, there is talk of processing all claims from one office to speed up the process.

LAUREL EDWARDS: Limited space and limited people.

GARY CLARE: Well it has come out that a quarter of those who won tickets to the dawn service at Gallipoli next year have not confirmed whether they will attend the event. Now the deadline is one minute to midnight Saturday. I want to find out what's going on with that, so we're chatting to Senator Michael Ronaldson. Good morning Senator.


LAUREL EDWARDS: With this ballot that was used to sort of work out who could actually go along to the Gallipoli service, what does that actually mean that people got?

MINISTER RONALDSON: Forty-two thousand Australians who applied to go in the ballot, about another 8000 Kiwis as well, and we are doing it in conjunction with the Kiwis.

So there are huge numbers - over 50,000 people applied for the ballot. There were 8000 places, so 3000 double passes in the general section and 400 double passes for veterans, 400 double passes for direct descendants, and 200 double passes for school kids.

People were given six months to get everything in order, including passports and travel et cetera, et cetera, so that six months finishes as you said earlier at one minute to 12 on Saturday night.

Now so far, I have just got some updated figures, there has been 72 per cent of people have accepted. There are actually about 38,000 Australians who are hoping they don't get in on time, because they are on the waiting list.

LAUREL EDWARDS: Senator, those who did win the ballot but haven't confirmed whether they're going or not, they're not allowed to just transfer their pass to someone else?

MICHAEL RONALDSON: No they most certainly are not, and we were ... we have been really, really rigid on this. It would be really quite unfair if people could transfer tickets from other people on the waiting list, so we have made really sure that that can't happen.

GARY CLARE: So there's no scalpers out there?

MICHAEL RONALDSON: Absolutely no scalpers at all. People will have tickets, they will have their passports, they won't be able to get onto the Peninsula without those details so fortunately, it will be a scalper-free zone.

LAUREL EDWARDS: It is wonderful though, Senator, to see attendance records being broken all the time, isn't it?

MICHAEL RONALDSON: This commemorative period is not just about Gallipoli next year, as important as that is. Now we have – there is another service that the Turkish Government has very generously agreed to allow us to hold at Lone Pine in early August, and then of course we go across to Palestine (Beersheeba), and the Western Front, and there are very significant commemorative events planned over those four years.

I want to come out of this with our kids understanding the when, where, and the why. Now there are 102,000 names etched onto the cloisters of the Australian War Memorial of men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice, and paid for our freedom in their own blood, and I think it is really important for the next generation of young people that they have got obligations and responsibility to look after these men and women. If they don't understand that these freedoms have come at a huge price then they may not be as inclined to do so. So that is why I think this centenary commemorative period is really, really important.

LAUREL EDWARDS: Senator, thank you so much for your time this morning.


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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