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The Hon Dan Tehan MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC

7 September 2016

Battle for Australia Day

Australians should today reflect on the service and sacrifice of those who served in defence of our nation in the Pacific in 1942-43 during the Second World War as we commemorate the Battle for Australia Day.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan will today attend the commemorative service at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne and lay a wreath in honour of those who took part in the defence of our homeland.

“During the Second World War, Australia was defended by our brave servicemen and women while our civilian population provided critical support to the war effort,” Mr Tehan said.

“This day of remembrance recognises the service and sacrifice of those who served on the home front in Australia, and of those who fought in battles during the Second World War.

“The Battle for Australia Day is a time to reflect on this period in Australia’s history and to honour all those who have served, and continue to serve, our nation.

“Next year, we will commemorate the 75th anniversaries of a number of engagements from the Second World War, including the Fall of Singapore, Bombing of Darwin, Battle of the Coral Sea, Kokoda Campaign and Battle of Milne Bay.”

On 19 February 1942, more than 260 Japanese aircraft mounted two waves of attack on Darwin, claiming the lives of 252 service personnel and civilians and causing widespread devastation. This was followed by a further 96 air attacks on Northern Australia over the next 20 months; the 64th and final was on Darwin on 12 November 1943.

On the night of 31 May 1942, three Japanese midget submarines attacked Sydney Harbour. A torpedo fired at the USS Chicago missed, striking HMAS Kuttabul, a ferry requisitioned by the Navy as a depot vessel. Nineteen Australian and two British sailors on HMAS Kuttabul died, the only Allied deaths resulting from the attack.

Media enquiries:

Minister Tehan’s Office: Byron Vale, 0428 262 894
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.