Steve Irons MP Federal Member for Swan

Opinion Piece – Commemorating the ultimate sacrifice 100 years on

commemoratingTuesday, 05 August 2014 – This year marks a milestone in Australia’s history where all Australians come together to recognise the 60,000 Australians who made the ultimate sacrifice in the First World War.

I had the honour of representing the Defence Minister David Johnston at yesterday’s ANZAC Spirit 100th Anniversary Coin Series commemoration and unveiling of the Perth Mint’s Spirit of Anzac Coin Series, which pays homage to those soldiers who served and those we lost in the First World War.

This very moving service expressed the spirit and camaraderie of our soldiers, and served as an opportunity to reflect on how Australia has developed as a country.

I also represented the Federal Government on Friday evening at the Australian War Memorial’s official opening of the Ben Quilty: after Afghanistan and Shaun Gladwell: Afghanistan exhibition at John Curtin Gallery – a powerful showcase which captured our soldiers emotions in both contemporary and traditional media forms to portray a raw reflection of life in Afghanistan.

Like many works commissioned by the Australian War Memorial, this exhibition would not be possible without the ongoing support of the Australian Government’s Commemorations Program, which commits $800,000 per year to the Memorial’s Travelling Exhibition scheme.

The upcoming Centenary of Anzac commemoration will see Australians of all ages come together to remember the lives of those we have lost and those who were lucky enough to survive all conflicts Australia has been involved in throughout our history.

It is the Australian Government’s aim to leave a lasting legacy for younger Australians in particular, about the service and sacrifice of past generations, including the more than 100,000 Australians who have lost their lives in the defence of our nation.

Striking a balance between commemorating these lives in a manner that encourages understanding, reflection and respect, while generating excitement for the events that have been planned is not as easy as one may think, however I believe that this is exactly what has been achieved.

The Government has committed approximately $150 million for commemorative events which will be held across Australia and overseas over the next four years to mark the significant milestones of the Anzac Centenary, including:

  • The Albany Convoy Commemorative Event to mark the centenary of the departure of Australian and New Zealand troops on 1 November 1914;
  • The refurbishment of the First World War galleries at the Australian War Memorial; and
  • $125,000 per Federal electorate for community-based commemoration under the Anzac Centenary Local Grants Programme.

This significant period of commemoration will be the most important in our nation’s history and I encourage all Swan residents to pay their respect to our servicemen and women by getting involved.

For a permanent reminder of the Centenary of Anzac, I also encourage residents to view the Perth Mint’s Spirit of Anzac Coin series. For more information, please visit www.perthmint.com.au/

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