House debates

Thursday, 25 February 2021

Constituency Statements

Parrott, Mr Charlie, Chin, Mr Ronald 'Ronnie', Bayley, Mr Waldo

10:23 am

Photo of Luke GoslingLuke Gosling (Solomon, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I want to congratulate everyone who was involved with the bombing of Darwin commemoration last week. It was great to have the Minister for Veterans' Affairs come up to Darwin to take part in that very important commemoration. Next year is the 80th anniversary. Reflecting on those who have served, we have some extraordinary veterans in the NT. 7 February was a big day this year—a happy day of celebration, but also a sad day. We celebrated World War II veteran Charlie Parrott's 101st birthday. It was great to celebrate with Charlie and his friends and family. It's a massive milestone. He served our nation in the Second World War, joining up in 1939, and fought in North Africa and Greece. He fought in the Battle of Crete and was taken prisoner. His story of survival during those years and his journey to freedom is extraordinary. I can recommend his book, which is humbly titled An Aussie Nobody: The Story of an Ordinary Man in Extraordinary Circumstances.

7 February was also a sad day in that we lost World War II veteran Ronnie Chin. Ronnie was 95. He served with the Royal Australian Air Force during the Second World War. He was a lifetime member of the Chung Wah Society in Darwin, and he was a legend of the Darwin Buffaloes footy club. Ronnie made a huge contribution to our community, and the Chin family continue to make an outstanding contribution in Darwin in many, many fields. Rest in peace, Ronnie. As the Buffs say: 'Old Buffaloes never die; they simply fade away.'

Vietnam War veteran Waldo Bayley is a renowned bush poet and is much loved in the Top End. He sent me a poem recently, and in the poem he says:

Some troops have lost fellow members who've died from suicide.

Their lives have been shattered, and they have no place to hide!

The families of our troops often suffer in their silence.

Sadly there's a confrontation, sometimes ending up in violence.

People complain about the cost of a royal commission.

Parliamentary Members, this is your decision!

Let's keep this big wheel turning, for there is no place to hide.

Let's work to help deter our Veterans with thoughts of suicide.

Waldo Bayley is a great man.

My dad also is a Vietnam War veteran, and one of his veteran mates said recently, 'A royal commission will be too late for some, but it will be a lifesaver for others.' These are extraordinary people who put their hand up to serve our country, and the least we can do is support them and their families after their service. It's well past time for a royal commission.


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