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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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Saturday, 25 April 2015 
VA034

AUSTRALIANS UNITE TO COMMEMORATE ANZAC DAY

Across the country and around the world, thousands paused today to honour the Australians and New Zealanders who first landed on the shores of Gallipoli 100 years ago, and to commemorate the service and sacrifice of those who served in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations in which Australia has been involved.

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC, Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson, was one of 10,282 people who paid his respects to the ANZACS at the dawn service in Gallipoli, Turkey.

Reflecting upon the significance of the centenary, Senator Ronaldson said the attendance of vast numbers of Australians at services around the world demonstrated the ongoing relevance of Anzac commemorations to current generations of Australians.

“Public interest in this year’s commemorations highlights the enduring respect and gratitude our community feels for the sacrifices made by more than 50,000 Australians who served in the Gallipoli campaign and more than 323,000 who served in the First World War,” Senator Ronaldson said.

“It is extremely pleasing to see the high turnout at Dawn Services in Australia and overseas as Australians from all walks of life come together to honour and remember the original Anzacs and the brave men and women who have continued their legacy of service over the last 100 years.

“We owe all of these fine men and women a great debt of gratitude, particularly the 102,000 who have paid the ultimate sacrifice,” Senator Ronaldson said.

Senator Ronaldson said that during the Anzac Centenary, it was important to observe traditions like the Anzac Day dawn service and other commemorative activities and to teach our children and the broader Australian community about the meaning of ANZAC.

“In this way, the spirit of ANZAC will live on and continue to remind us of the service and sacrifices that were made by our fellow Australians to ensure our future.”

In Villers-Bretonneux, France, 6,100 people paid tribute to the more than 295,000 Australian service personnel who served on the Western Front in France and Belgium, and the 46,000 who made the ultimate sacrifice. In Australia, dawn service attendance numbers are estimated to have reached between 350,000 and 380,000 in capital cities alone.

The Anzac Centenary commemorates the First World War (2014–2018). Since the first convoy of servicemen left the shores of Albany in 1914, almost two million men and women have worn with pride the uniforms of the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force. On Anzac Day, we remember them.

Australians are invited to join share how they mark Anzac Day on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AnzacCentenary, or on twitter.com/DVAAUS with #anzac100 or #anzaccentenary. Education resources and media background materials are available at www.dva.gov.au/mediacentre.

Estimated attendance at Anzac Day commemorative dawn services in Australia

Adelaide – 20,000
Brisbane – 20,000–30,000
Canberra – 120,000
Darwin – 10,000
Hobart – 5,000
Melbourne – 85,000
Perth – 60,000–80,000
Sydney – 30,000

Estimated attendance at Anzac Day commemorative dawn services overseas

Gallipoli, Turkey – 10,282
Hellfire Pass, Thailand – 3,000–3,200
Isurava Memorial, Papua New Guinea – more than 800 (includes trekkers and porters)
Port Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery, Papua New Guinea – 5,200
Sandakan, Malaysia – 600-630
Villers-Bretonneux, France – 6,100

Media inquiries:
Minister Ronaldson: Mark Lee 02 6277 7820 or 0408 547 381
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

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