Thursday, 26 June 2014
Questions without Notice
It is a great honour for me to take Senator Boswell's last question. I thank him most sincerely for a quite remarkable contribution. Mr President, I would also like to acknowledge the presence of your wife Sue, who has given you great support and, in doing so, has supported the Senate. Thank you very much.
In answer to Senator Boswell's question, I am very pleased to say that the preparations for the dawn service at Gallipoli next year are progressing well. Only last week, Australian and New Zealand officials had a series of bilateral meetings to lock in the arrangements for next year. We are working very closely with our brothers and sisters in New Zealand to make sure that this is a great success. The former government announced a ballot for the Gallipoli commemorations next year. There was a figure that was put in place by the Turkish government of some 10,500 people. I again place on the record our very grateful thanks to the government and people of Turkey for their support. There will be 8,000 Australians and 2,000 Kiwis.
When the ballot was first drawn there was a waitlist attached to that for people who had indicated they wanted to go on the waitlist, and I am very pleased to say today that the first of those waitlist applicants will be announced shortly. There will be some 102 double passes for those who have handed them in or said they no longer want to go. There will be 22 in the veterans category, 20 for the sons and daughters and 60 double passes in the general public category. From day one, we said that we wanted to ensure that veterans and the sons and daughters of Gallipoli veterans were given the greatest opportunity to attend these commemorations, and this will ensure that occurs.