Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (11:58): By leave, I move my motion in an amended form:
That this house—
(a) acknowledges that ANZAC Day was commemorated on 25 April 2023;
(b) pays its respects to the families of those ANZACs who tragically lost their lives during the Gallipoli campaign; and
(c) remembers all Australian personnel and animals who have been injured or killed in action.
ANZAC Day is a very special day for all of us in this great country. It commemorates the landing on those Gallipoli shores. It is commemorated on 25 April each year and it marks the date of the landing of Australian and New Zealand forces at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. The battle at Gallipoli against Turkish armed forces—there were some thousands of German forces involved as well—was Australia's first battle of World War I and our first major war of the industrial age.
I have some statistics here and, depending on where you look, they vary through different historical records, but I will go through the ones I have here today. There were 489,000 allied troops who served and 316,000 Turkish troops who served. There were 56,000 allied troops killed at Gallipoli. At least 7,500 of those troops were Australians who lost their lives and 18,500 were wounded. There were 56,000 Turkish troops killed.
Although ANZAC Day is commemorated on the anniversary of the Gallipoli landings, we must remember the service and sacrifice of our service men and women and their families, carers and loved ones who have served our country through all conflicts.
In relation to the ANZACs, it was a rough night for our sailors and our forces from the Army coming in with their small boats, using torches, trying to find lit torches and trying to find where they were to land. They landed at the wrong beaches, but there were many heroics. You can just imagine these young men suddenly realising the reality of the fire raining down on them from the heights of the Dardanelles. It would have really lit them up and let them realise that this was it; this was what was happening.
For the next eight months, the Australian and New Zealand forces had many battles and many losses. I reflect on the famous charge at the Nek, where the forces were only about 30 metres apart. The timings of the shelling from the naval boats were not synchronised quite right with the men onshore. The Navy was shelling the trenches of the Turkish soldiers and then it went quiet for a while, but it was not timed with the synchronisation of watches for the four ranks of 150 soldiers, the cream of Victoria and Western Australia, to jump out of their trenches. Sadly, most of them became casualties. If not killed, they were severely wounded.
There were other battles. There were many Victoria Crosses that were received during that campaign during battles at Lone Pine, Quinn's Post and other areas of the battlefield during the eight months, but it is always remembered as the most successful retreat, to a degree, when the stalemate—and it was a stalemate—ended with the successful retreat off the beaches. Virtually every man was off the beach before the Turkish soldiers realised that we had left. It certainly forged our place in history, along with our New Zealand comrades who had many thousands of losses as well—injured and killed.
Certainly we reflect on the service of Australians. They served in the Boer War, of course, and in World War I and World War II. In the First World War, which went between 1914 and 1918, Australia raised an army of more than 400,000 from a population of less than five million people. Sadly, 60,000 were killed and 156,000 were wounded, gassed or taken prisoner. They are amazing numbers for a country with such a small population at the time.
In the Second World War, from 1939 to 1945, nearly one million Australian men and women served in World War II and 500,000 of those served overseas, but we take credit for those who served here and overseas, because it does not matter where you serve, your effort is highly valued. Thirty-nine thousand gave their lives in the Second World War and a further 30,000 were taken prisoner.
I have spoken before in this house of my great-uncle Joe who served in the First World War. He had the million-dollar wound. He was walking between two colleagues on the Somme and got shot through the nose from a side angle. He was repatriated back to London to be hospitalised and get fixed up. By the time he went back to the frontline, the war was over.
I had uncles serve in all three areas of our troops—Army, Navy and Air Force—during World War II. Two of my uncles served in Korea. In fact, one of my uncles served in the Navy in World War II and then he served in the Army in Korea. Obviously, we have had many more conflicts since. The total, sadly, for all conflicts per the Roll of Honour is 102,911 Australians who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our great country and for us to have a better life. In other conflicts:
Korea: over 17,000 served, 340 killed, 1,216 wounded and 29 prisoners of war;
Vietnam: around 60,000 served—and obviously some of these were on National Service—521 died as a result, 30,000 wounded;
peacekeeping: 16 Australians have died during peacekeeping operations and, as with all wartime experience, some of those casualties were from natural causes and illness; and
contemporary conflicts from 2001 onwards: sadly, we have had 59 people pay the ultimate sacrifice.
You would probably rate Rwanda, even though that was around the mid-1990s. My brother served in the peacekeeping in Rwanda, which got upgraded to war service 13 years later. Obviously, there are different rules of engagement under peacekeeping. It is interesting to note it got upgraded to active service those years later. Then, obviously, there were two rounds in Iraq. My brother served in 2005-06 in Baghdad. That is just a personal reflection of my family's service, but I really do pay tribute to our modern-day military personnel and the men and women who are signing up.
A friend of mine whose stepson recently signed up is now operating out of Sydney with the Army and I have another friend whose son has recently gone through basic training. I really commend them for taking up that training to protect our great country into the future. We are in interesting times when we talk of defence and what we are doing to enhance our capability but, whatever we do, it gets down to the brave men and women who sign up for that service and no greater service can they give than for this great country. They are willing to pay that great sacrifice.
I also want to talk about the reservists, who make up a large portion of our armed forces. I know the minister was a reservist and I was really proud to be there when he received his medals recently after all those decades, so congratulations, sir. The reservists are a vital part and I see there is a look now federally at working out how we can keep more reservists in action to assist our full-time soldiers in defending this great country.
While we rightly remember and commemorate their sacrifice, we must also remember those who returned home wounded either physically or emotionally and their families and carers who were left to deal with the effects of their exposure to war. Certainly, there are a lot of different effects. There is post-traumatic stress disorder, or shell shock as it was called in World War I, and the things that people cannot get out of their head, whether it is the sound of helicopters (the choppers), whether it is the horrors that they see and hear that no-one sees in normal day-to-day life. These people are prepared to go on the frontline and are posted in various locations to defend our great country.
I have some statistics on the number of animals that have served in our armed forces because they certainly assisted us in our time overseas. In World War I, Australia shipped some 120,000 horses overseas as part of the Australian Light Horse contingent and, sadly, the soldiers were ordered to shoot their horses at the end of service. Many did not and they let them go in the desert. I think there was only one horse that was brought back.
I have read the book on Bill the Bastard, a very famous horse from World War I that served in the Middle East and Gallipoli and is featured in an artwork at the new Romani aged-care centre in Murray Bridge. There are also explosive detection dogs that have served for us and there is a huge list of animals that have served alongside our men and women: horses, dogs, carrier pigeons, camels and even a rooster chick have served alongside Australia's service men and women throughout our involvement in over a century of conflict.
I think Australia has certainly made its mark—sadly, we have had to make a mark because of conflict around the world in over 100 years—but for percentage of population I think we truly have made ourselves proud as a great nation with our people prepared to put their hand up and to make that supreme sacrifice. I truly commemorate all those people. It would be over 100,000 who have paid that supreme sacrifice. To all our ANZACs who have served and are still serving our country, whether here or overseas, I just say thank you.
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