Posted on 12. Apr, 2010 in Speeches

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Mr LIM (Clayton) — I welcome the opportunity to speak in support of this bill, which recognises the dignity and solemnity of Anzac Day, 25 April. Anzac Day is our most important day of remembering and reflection as a nation. It has often been commented that Australia celebrates a defeat. I believe the official war historian C. E. W. Bean best captures the significance of the Anzac. In his work Anzac to Amiens — A Shorter History of the Australian Fighting Services in the First World War, Charles Bean had this to say about the first Anzacs:

Yet for the withdrawing Anzacs Gallipoli had a special meaning. It was not merely that 7600 Australians and nearly 2500 New Zealanders had been killed or mortally wounded there, and 24 000 more (19 000 Australians and 5000 New Zealanders) had been wounded, while less than 100 were prisoners. But the standard set by the first companies at the first call — by the stretcher-bearers, the medical officers, the staffs, the company leaders, the privates, the defaulters on the water barges, the Light Horse at the Nek — this was already part of the tradition not only of Anzac but of the Australian and New Zealand peoples. By dawn on 20 December Anzac had faded into a dim blue line lost amid other hills on the horizon as the ships took their human freight to Imbros, Lemnos and Egypt. But Anzac stood, and still stands, for reckless valour in a good cause, for enterprise, resourcefulness, fidelity, comradeship, and endurance that will never own defeat.

These values of freedom, a fair go, mateship, service and sacrifice are still what define us as a nation and make us proudly Australian. This is why Anzac Day is as important as ever.

The diggers from the First World War may all be gone and those surviving from the Second World War are in advanced years, but their memory lives on in the generations of Australians that have followed. As the number of our diggers declines, younger Australians celebrate Anzac Day in increasing numbers, whether they travel to Gallipoli or attend dawn services around the country. Clearly Anzac Day remains our memorial day.

Young Australians participate for several important reasons. They appreciate that it is the spirit of the Anzac which defines us as a nation and makes us uniquely Australian. For many it is personal. It is a time to honour their fathers and grandfathers and the sacrifice they made.

This bill honours not only the first Anzacs of the Great War, but also those who came after them in the Second World War and in conflicts such as those in Malaya, Korea, Vietnam and, more recently, the Middle East and Afghanistan. It honours their selfless service and, for too many, their ultimate sacrifice. The bill does this by restricting the trading of licensed premises between 3.00 a.m. and 12 noon on the morning of Anzac Day in time for Anzac Day in 2010. Appropriately, there are several exemptions, including of licences held by the RSL or a sub-branch of the RSL.

This bill asks just a little from licensed businesses and their patrons as a mark of respect to those great Australians who gave so much. I commend it to the house.

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