Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
Special Minister of State
The Australian Government and Qantas today announced a collaboration to support ANZAC Centenary activities marking the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC, Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson made the announcement alongside Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce at the airline’s Sydney Jetbase.
“The Anzac Centenary is a milestone of special significance to all Australians as the First World War played such an important role in defining us as a nation and as a people” Senator Ronaldson said.
The Government appreciates the generous contribution of Qantas in supporting this significant period of commemoration and ensuring that more Australians can travel to Turkey for the services.
Qantas has added a special flight for Australians travelling to Turkey for Anzac Day – the Boeing 747 seats 364 people and will depart Sydney for Istanbul on 21 April, via Perth.
“This additional flight is a great initiative by Qantas, and will provide the opportunity for many Australians who received a ticket in the ballot to travel to this historic Anzac Day commemoration,” Senator Ronaldson said.
Qantas has a strong connection to Gallipoli where two of its founders served, Sir William Hudson Fysh KBE DFC (1894 – 1974) and Paul McGinness DFC DCM (1896-1952).
Qantas has agreed to provide return flights for the widows of Australian First World War veterans travelling to Turkey for Anzac Day commemorations at Gallipoli. The widows, aged in their seventies to early nineties, will attend the commemorations as official guests of the Australian Government and will travel as part of an official mission party.
The widows will each be accompanied by a carer and support staff from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA), including nurses and an Australian Defence Force doctor.
Following an expression of interest process undertaken last year, DVA is continuing to work with the widows and their carers to ensure their fitness for international travel in April.
“Qantas is proud to be working with the Australian Government and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to support the Centenary of ANZAC events,” said Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.
“We are honoured to be carrying war widows and their carers to Turkey so they can attend commemorative services at Gallipoli.
“Two of Qantas’ founders, Paul McGinness and Hudson Fysh both served with distinction in the First World War and today, their legacies remain strong as do our ties with the services of the Australian Defence Forces.”
Senator Ronaldson said that while Anzac Day 2015 in Gallipoli will be a key commemorative event in the Anzac Centenary Programme, the programme will extend until November 2018 when the 100th anniversary of the armistice will be observed.
“Those without attendance passes for Anzac Day 2015 may consider visiting Gallipoli on 6 August 2015 for the Battle of Lone Pine commemoration service. Australians can also attend a Dawn Service in Australia or watch the television broadcast of the Gallipoli and Villers-Bretonneux services on the ABC” he said.
The ballot for attendance at Anzac Centenary commemorations at Gallipoli is now complete. A waitlist, for those who were unsuccessful in previous allocations, is open until 31 March 2015 to reallocate places that become available. Only those with a ballot attendance pass can attend the official Anzac Day commemorations at Gallipoli in 2015.
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