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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, 3 September 2014


Each year, on the first Wednesday in September, we commemorate Battle for Australia Day, marking the defeat of Japanese forces in the Battle of Milne Bay. We remember those who fought and died defending our nation during the Second World War.

This day of remembrance recognises the sacrifice of those who served on the home front in Australia, and of those who fought on land, air and sea in battles in the Coral Sea, Papua and New Guinea between 1942 and 1945.

This time of great peril for Australia is now formally commemorated on Battle for Australia Day, a day when we honour the service and sacrifice of Australian servicemen and women who took part in the defence of our homeland in 1942.

This year is especially poignant as it also marks 70 years since the Australian Army began its campaign against the Japanese on the island of Bougainville in the South Pacific. The campaign lasted from November 1944 until the Japanese surrendered in August 1945.

The Bougainville campaign was one of the largest and most difficult fought by Australian forces during the Second World War. Some 500 Australians were killed on Bougainville. Two infantrymen were awarded the Victoria Cross.

During the Second World War, Australia was defended by hundreds of thousands of servicemen and women, while Australia’s civilian population provided critical support to the war effort. Battle for Australia Day is a time to reflect on this grim but significant period in Australia’s history.

During the Centenary of Anzac, we mark a century of service and sacrifice, encompassing all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations in which Australians have been involved. The Centenary will be the most significant period of commemoration in our nation’s history and the Government is committed to providing opportunities for all Australians to participate.

For more information on Australia’s involvement in the Second World War visit or

Media inquiries:
Minister Ronaldson: Brad Rowswell 02 6277 7820 or 0417 917 796
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

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 (104 KB)