TRANSCRIPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER THE HON JOHN HOWARD MP ADDRESS AT THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE FURTHER FUNDING FOR NURSES MEMORIAL ANZAC MEMORIAL, HYDE PARK
Period of Service: 11/03/1996 to 03/12/2007
Release Date: 22/04/1999
Release Type: Speech
Transcript ID: 11368
Subjects: Funding for Nurses'Memorial
Well thank you very much Rusty to Elisabeth Perciville to the other
very special and distinguished and honoured guests, ladies and gentlemen.
It is appropriate as we approach ANZAC Day 1999 to take a few opportunities
to honour those people who have made such a remarkable contribution
to producing Australia of 1999 which is without fear as a free and
open and democratic society. I had the special opportunity in Western
Australia only yesterday to present to eight survivors of World War
I the first of the eightieth anniversary commemorative medals of which
the government has decided to strike to honour those veterans of World
War I who survived to see armistice day 1998 the eightieth anniversary
of the end of World War I.
Here on the other side of Australia in Sydney, today, I have the opportunity
on behalf of the Australian Government and on behalf of the Australian
people to pay special tribute to a special and remarkable band of
Australian women who endured in so many theatres of war the privation,
the suffering, the death and all of the heartache and all of the toil
involved in caring for the wounded and the dying amongst Australian
service personnel in all theatres of war.
Starting with their contribution for the first time in the South African
War through the first World War through World War II and through the
subsequent conflicts in which Australia has been involved, nurses
have been at the forefront of the effort in defending our country
and the greatest tributes that have been paid to them of course have
been paid to them by the service men themselves who were cared for,
whose lives were saved and whose lives were put together again by
their loving care and attention.
Part of the debt that we owe to the men and women who defended this
country is a special debt to those nurses of Australia who made such
a magnificent contribution in all of the wars in which Australians
have been involved. Earlier this week the marvelous ABC TV documentary
Sisters in Arms told the work of service nurses during conflicts
in which Australia has been involved. That particular program which
interviewed several of the people who are here today told some wonderful
stories of their heroism and it was a wonderful reminder to the current
generation of Australians just how much we owe to that remarkable
group of men and women who gave so much in the two world conflicts
and in Korea and in Vietnam.
Just as I encouraged the audience in Western Australia yesterday to
think that, as children in Australian schools are taught Simpson and
his donkey, to learn some of the stories surrounding that remarkable
group of men who comprised amongst the eight of them more than eight
hundred years of cumulative life experiences so can we never forget
the courage and compassion of survivors like Sister Vivienne Bullwinkle,
the only survivor of the Banker Island Massacre in World War II and
Sister Nell Savage, the only survivor of the sinking of the hospital
ship Centar in World War II as well as those who were taken
as prisoners of war.
The nurses of Australia have contributed important and never to be
forgotten chapters to the history of this country in war. Their contribution
was selfless their dedication was unlimited and the debt that we owe
to them was equal to the debt that we owe to those people we owe to
those on the fighting front. And their contribution and their spirit
illumines in a very special way the ANZAC spirit and the ANZAC tradition.
The Government, as you know, announced with the great help of the
various nursing associations, the dedication, hopefully later this
year, of a special nurse's memorial in Canberra. And I am announcing
today a further contribution, from the Federal Government, of $500,000
towards the cost of completing, erecting and dedicating the memorial.
We hope that that will occur in October of this year and I want to
particularly thank all of those people who have been involved in it.
I want to congratulate Elizabeth Percival who is here today, the Executive
Director of the Royal College of Nursing Australia, who agreed to
chair the memorial management committee, Ita Buttrose, who chaired
the fundraising committee, as well as all those involved in the memorial
project for their magnificent efforts in arriving where we are at
present. The contributions made by various sub branches and elements
of the RSL, by state governments and other veterans' groups have
been very welcome. The Commonwealth Government made an initial contribution
of $100,000 and the further contribution of $500,000 that I announced
today will, I hope, make and important further contribution towards
the successful billing of the appeal target and of the completion,
the dedication and the opening of the memorial.
Memorials are an important expression of how any nation or any group
of people feels about a section of its community. We have many memorials
in Canberra, far and away the most moving, the most memorable and
those that are most evocative of the history of our country are those
that are dedicated to the contribution of the men and women who defended
this country in war. And the nurses memorial, when it is opened, will
take its place alongside the War Memorial, alongside the special memorials
to our conflicts in Vietnam and elsewhere and the other special memorials
that mark the contribution of men and women in theatres of war. Can
I say to those representatives of the Nurses of Australia who are
here today, that your nation is forever in your debt, your nation
is grateful for what you did, your nation admires and respects and
will always remember the risks you took, the contribution you made,
the relief of suffering that you afforded. The memorial that will
be opened in October, will I hope will be a fitting and important
reminder to the entire nation and particularly to those that are young
who visit Canberra of just how important the role that you all played
at very perilous and very critical times in the history of Australia.
Thank you very much.