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Transcript - 24197

Remarks at the launch of the Anzac Day Challenge, Sydney

Photo of Abbott, Tony

Abbott, Tony

Period of Service: 18/09/2013 to 15/09/2015

More information about Abbott, Tony on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 14/02/2015

Release Type: Transcript

Transcript ID: 24197

It’s great to be here today to help launch this Anzac Day Challenge.

It’s good to be in the presence of my friend, General Peter Leahy, it’s good to be in the presence of the Mayor, Michael Regan, and it’s good to be in the presence of others who take the Anzac tradition seriously, including people like Paul, who are the Anzacs of today.

I guess there’ll be two categories of people participating in this event. There will be the former soldiers like Paul who want to show that they aren’t going to let any challenge beat them. We know that former soldiers face many challenges. There are the physical challenges; probably even more significant for most, the mental challenges of coming out of combat and thinking about the hard and bitter things that combat soldiers have to do – the things that no human being should have to do but which soldiers do have to do to keep the rest of us in safety and freedom. So, I salute the former soldiers who will be participating in this Anzac Day Challenge.

I guess the others who will be involved are people who simply want to say thank you to those who have served – people who want to show solidarity with those who have served.

It was the famous wit and diarist of the 18th century, Dr Samuel Johnson, who once quipped that “every man doth despise himself for never having been a soldier.”

I’ve never worn the Queen’s uniform – other than I suppose of a Rural Fire Service volunteer, and that’s not the same – but I am full of admiration, respect and awe for those who have put their lives on the line for our country. Everyone who wears a military uniform is saying that he or she is prepared to put his or her life on the line for our country.

Those of us who have not served in that way, deep in our being wish to show some sort of solidarity to those who have served and this is an opportunity for that to be done.

I know in a range of different ways in different times in my life I’ve tried to demonstrate solidarity with our ex-service personnel. Years and years ago I walked twice across the Kokoda Track – once with my future wife – to demonstrate a sense of solidarity with those who had served.

From time to time as Prime Minister, I try to do physical training with members of our armed forces. I cannot share their dangers, but I can at least, in a small way, share some of their exertions.

As someone who as Prime Minister and as Minister has made decisions that involve putting our military personnel in harm’s way, it seems to me that that’s the least I can do – the least I can do to share some of their exertions, if not their dangers – and this Anzac Day Challenge is a marvellous way for more of us to share their exertions, if not their dangers, and in a very special way to pay tribute to all who have served our country in the military for more than 100 years.

So, it is a real thrill and an honour to be here today. Thank you to Greg, thank you to Peter Davies and Peter Leahy representing Soldier On and Mates4Mates. It’s mighty work that you do and I want to support you in every way I humanly can.


Transcript - 24197