Senate debates

Tuesday, 9 May 2023


Legacy Australia: 100th Anniversary

8:32 pm

Photo of Andrew McLachlanAndrew McLachlan (SA, Deputy-President) Share this | Hansard source

Legacy Australia is celebrating its centenary this year. It is doing so by holding a torch relay beginning on the old battlefields of France and finishing in Melbourne. The relay celebrates 100 years of care for the families of those who have fallen in the service of their country.

Legacy was born out of the devastation of the First World War and continues to serve Australian families to this day. If we lived in a better world, the mission of Legacy would have been accomplished by now. But war, and its terrible impact on communities and families, does not seem to want to retreat into the mists of history. As I travel around South Australia, I always take time to spend a moment of reflection at the war memorials that stand sorrowfully at the centre of our regional towns. They are sentinels reminding us of the unimaginable pain that mothers and fathers suffered after losing their beloved sons and daughters.

As I have spent a little time serving at the foot of the Hindu Kush, I know the soldier of today asks the same question of themselves as a soldier did 100 years ago: who will look after my family if I fall at the hands of our enemy? It is from these sentiments that Legacy was born. It is these sentiments that continue to sustain its purpose today. Today Legacy supports more than 40,000 partners and children of veterans who gave their lives in service to our nation, as well as those who have returned bearing physical and mental scars.

I am proud to be a legatee of the Legacy Club of South Australia and Broken Hill and will be a torch bearer in the relay this Friday, after the flame arrives in Adelaide. I acknowledge the great work of the club in organising this event—in particular, President Rob Eley, Chief Executive Kerryn Smith and Chairman the Hon. Graham Ingerson. Mr Ingerson is a great friend and a former South Australian deputy premier. Graham was awarded legacy as a youth, following the death of his father, and knows firsthand the importance of Legacy's work. I thank him for his unwavering commitment to advancing the organisation.

The Legacy flame began its journey on 23 April in Pozieres, France, travelling onto the Menin Gate in Belgium and then to London, where it was welcomed by His Majesty King Charles III prior to its first leg in Albany, Western Australia, last week. The overall journey of the torch relay will include stops at all 45 Legacy clubs around Australia, culminating in Melbourne in October. In all, the torch will travel more than 50,000 kilometres through 100 locations, carried by approximately 1,500 torchbearers, all of whom have connections to Legacy or the defence community. The torch will be welcomed into Adelaide on 11 May for the Edinburgh defence base, before an expected crowd of around 200 guests.

The badge of Legacy is a torch and a wreath of laurel. The torch signifies the undying flame of the service and sacrifice of those who gave their lives for their country. The wreath of laurel is a symbol of our remembrance of them. The badge remains a powerful image to the veteran community to this day.

I leave senators with a few words from Archibald MacLeish's poem The Young Dead Soldiers Do Not Speak:

They say: We have given our lives but until it is finished

no one can know what our lives gave.

They say: Our deaths are not ours: they are yours,

they will mean what you make them.

These words capture the great work of Legacy.


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