Gallipoli Flag

Address by John Howard

Transcript of the Prime Minister
The Hon John Howard MP
Gallipoli 2000 Campaign Launch Address
11 April 2000

Thank you very much Mr Scott, Major General Digger James, more importantly for this occasion to Mr Alec Campbell, his wife and the other members of the Canberra family and also to the six young men and women, of today’s Australian Defence Force who are an important part of this very symbolic, but simple commemoration.

It is an opportunity for us to honour the link between the first generation of Australians who put the name of this nation along with the nation of New Zealand on the world map that morning in April, 1915. And I do particularly acknowledge the presence at this ceremony of Mr Simon Murdoch the High Commissioner in Australia from New Zealand.

Today is an occasion to remark upon the marvel of having a man who’s had the life experience of Alec Campbell with us. To honour the tradition that he helped form to thank him and his fellow Anzacs for the contribution that they have made to forming the Australian way of life. Because of all the traditions and all of the things that we hold dear as Australians, none is held more dearly than the Anzac tradition. For all that it represents in terms of brave sacrifice of reckless indifference to danger, of valour under terrible fire, and a legacy that has been handed down to subsequent generations.

There are, as Bruce Scott said only two survivors of the campaign on Gallipoli, Alec who’s with us today and Roy Longmore and we marvel at a life of one hundred and one years. We marvel at the richness of the experience of Alec but most of all we honour him for giving to this country a very precious legacy. We’re proud of him, we’re proud of the generation to which he belonged while equally proud of the generation to which the six young men and women of today’s ADF belong.

And of the many experiences I’ve had as Prime Minister of this country none filled me with greater pride, none reminded me of the simple dignity and decency of the average Australian than the experience I had of saying farewell to the men and women of the ADF who went to East Timor and greeting them in East Timor when I visited them in December of last year.

They have brought immense credit to our country; they have carried on a great tradition and it is therefore appropriate that today in this simple, symbolic ceremony, the handing over of an Australian flag that will be raised for the first time at the dawn service at Gallipoli later this month at a ceremony which I will attend along with the leader of the Opposition who I acknowledge here today and the Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clarke. And that flag will be raised and then returned here at the Memorial for safe keeping and every subsequent Anzac Day taken to Gallipoli to be raised again.

Today we join the past with the present; we confirm that that Anzac tradition permeates our modern life as it has permeated earlier generations. We thank you Alec for your sacrifice and your commitment to our nation. Today’s generations thank you for making this a free society; we thank you for the way of life that we all enjoy and in today’s ceremony we honour in a very moving and tangible way that great link between the original Anzacs and those in the modern generation who carry on that great Australian tradition.