Senate debates

Tuesday, 9 May 2023

Statements by Senators

Boer War Memorial

1:36 pm

Photo of Linda ReynoldsLinda Reynolds (WA, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

The Boer War was our nation's first expeditionary war. Initially all six colonies provided troops between 1899 and 1900. Then, as a nation, we came together between 1901 and 1902 to support the war effort. In total, 16,000 Australians served in the Boer War, including nearly 1,000 Western Australians, including nurses and bushmen. Today they are recognised and commemorated at a spectacular commemoration memorial in Kings Park in Perth.

A total of 598 Australians are recorded on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial, having made the ultimate sacrifice. While we say 'Lest we forget', it is important for us to remember that it means that we remember them all, no matter how long ago they served and sacrificed. I commend the Boer War Memorial Society of Western Australia, which was established by my lovely friend Kevin Bovell and is today run by a small and very dedicated group of volunteers who actively work to preserve the memories and also the stories of Australians who served in this war before time has run out and their stories are lost forever. I thank Kevin and all volunteers for their passion and their commitment.

But, unlike others on the Roll of Honour, the 16,000 Australians who served do not yet have a day included in the Department of Veterans' Affairs National Commemorative Program. The society has for many years been campaigning for 31 May, the day the war ended, to be recognised as the Boer War national commemorative day. So I call on the Minister for Veterans' Affairs to remedy this oversight and to ensure that all who served our nation, no matter the century, are remembered and are never forgotten. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain. (Time expired)


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