It is an honour to speak to the Remembrance Day motion moved by my friend the
member for Kingston and shadow minister. It is important that we recognise the sacrifice and commitment by
those men and women who bravely fought for this nation, and continue to fight for this nation.
This Friday, we observe an important national day of remembrance for all of those men and women who have
been injured or died for their nation in armed conflict. The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month holds a
special place in the heart of all Australians. As we know, it marks the specific time when the guns on the Western
Front fell silent, and hostilities ceased after four devastating years of war in the First War conflict, the Great War.
As a nation, we solemnly observe one minute's silence as a mark of respect.
It is because of their sacrifice that we as a nation today enjoy peace and freedom. We know that the first modern
world conflict brought about the mobilisation of around 70 million people and left between nine and 13 million
people dead, and perhaps as many as one-third of them with no known grave.
It was on the anniversary of the Armistice in 1919 that two minutes silence was instituted as part of the main
commemorative ceremony at the new Cenotaph in London. The silence was proposed by an Australian journalist,
Edward Honey, who was working in Fleet Street. We know that at the time a similar proposal was put to the
British cabinet, which endorsed it, and King George V personally requested all people of the British Empire to
suspend normal activities for two minutes on the hour of the Armistice. We know that the two minutes silence
was popularly adopted, and it became a central feature of commemorations.
Later, post the Second World War, the Australian and British governments changed the name to Remembrance
Day. Armistice Day was no longer an appropriate title for a day which would commemorate all war dead. During
that conflict, we know that 60,000 Australians made the ultimate sacrifice; 156,000 Australians were wounded,
gassed or taken prisoner. As a nation, at the time we had a population of fewer than five million people. These
figures really do bring home how big a sacrifice was made.
In my electorate this Friday, and in every other electorate around this country, there will be a number of services
run by the dedicated men and women of the RSLs and subbranches. In my electorate, these will include the Forest
Lake, the Darra Cementco, the Centenary Suburbs and the Goodna RSL subbranches. Today I acknowledge the
work and effort of those volunteers in our RSL organisation right throughout the nation. I am really proud to work
alongside these great men and women, who dedicate many hours of their time to commemorate and remember
that sacrifice for so many Australians. On the weekend, I ran into one of the presidents, Alan Worthington, the
president of the Centenary RSL, and I was able to buy another pin. Alan was there, doing what he does week
in, week out, giving up his time, away from his family, to support the RSL. They do this to ensure that the men
and women get the recognition they deserve.
This is particularly important to me, as a son of a World War II veteran who enlisted in the Navy in 1920. I
was able to spend some time with the RAN personnel, men and women, in the Timor Sea, when I spent some
time as part of the parliamentary program working with the ADF. Spending time with those men and women
continually, once again, reminded me of the great respect I hold for our armed forces personnel.
Today I support this motion to ensure that the sacrifices made by members of our armed forces are never forgotten
and never taken for granted.