Thursday, 12 November 2020
Statements by Members
Remembrance Day is a time to reflect on the peace secured by the sacrifice of Australian soldiers. Importantly, it reminds us that the battle for human freedom is ongoing. We must heed this lesson so that our democracy remains strong. Although it is now often forgotten, Australians believe they were fighting for a just cause during the First World War. I believe they were, too. Two days prior to the Battle of Hamel in July 1918, Prime Minister Billy Hughes visited the Australian Corps in France. Hughes spoke directly to a group of them. He said:
Your deeds, the history of this war, are the basis upon which the future nation of Australians will be brought up. You have fought to keep alive the ideal of freedom and to save Australia from the domination to which, if Germany won, we would certainly be subjected. While you are doing that abroad we pledge ourselves to look after your interests at home.
Yesterday we remembered those who gave their lives serving Australia, defending our values and our interests from Gallipoli to Afghanistan. For us in this place, it reminded us, as Billy Hughes said, of our responsibility to care for those Australians we send to war on our behalf while they're in harm's way but especially when they return home.