HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CHAMBER
Mr TUDGE (Aston) (4.00 pm)—Last week I had the opportunity to attend several Remembrance Day services, where we paid our respects to those brave men and women who have died in the service of our country. The first such service was on the Sunday before Remembrance Day, when the Bayswater RSL Club held its official Remembrance Day service.
Bayswater RSL is the only RSL club in my electorate. It is a wonderful community club with several hundred members, many of whom served in our forces or have close connections with those who have done so. It held its primary service on the Sunday prior to 11 November in order to allow people who work to attend.
The RSL president, Mr Don Hamilton, and the secretary, Mr Noel McLean, officiated at the service. Many people from the local community attended, and I had the honour of being the primary speaker.
During the service we remembered those who had served Australia in all wars—from the Boer War right up to the present-day conflicts. We remembered their courage, we remembered their persistence and determination, we remembered their larrikin spirit and sense of humour and, most importantly, we remembered their sacrifice.
The Bayswater RSL Club held a second service, at 11 o’clock on Remembrance Day itself, where it was joined by students from the Bayswater Primary School. This school has a close relationship with the RSL and recently did a beautiful mural representing Remembrance Day which now hangs in the courtyard of the RSL.
It is absolutely terrific to see such a close connection between the RSL and the local primary school so that local children learn about the enormous sacrifices made by the people who came before them.
That evening, a citizenship ceremony was held at Knox in my electorate. I was very pleased to see that around half the new citizens wore poppies on their lapels. They obviously recognised that Australia’s attractiveness—the prosperity and the freedoms that we enjoy—is due to the sacrifices of the people who have come before us.
At each occasion commemorating Remembrance Day—at those services and at the citizenship ceremony—we sang the national anthem, in which we rejoiced that we are ‘young and free’. I commented that the fact that we are young is an accident of history, while the fact that we are free is no accident but is due to those brave men and women who came before us.