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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 8007


Photo of Hawke, Robert

Hawke, Robert

Period of Service: 11/03/1983 to 20/12/1991

More information about Hawke, Robert on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 22/04/1990

Release Type: Press Conference

Transcript ID: 8007

APRIL 1990
JOURNALIST: the Gallipoli book in particular that
has struck you?
PM: I think the courage of the men involved and their
mateship. We pride ourselves as Australians properly, I
thinlk, on the concept of mateship and it was there at
Anzac Cove that that concept was most dramatically and
effectively crystalised, in my judgement. There's no
doubt about the, their courage too against overwhelming
odds. Very interesting. If you read the background,
Kitchener who was, Lord Kitchener who was against the
concept at the beginning, said that if it were to be
undertaken it would need a force of at least 200,000
troops. In the end there were only about 70,000. So you
can see that they were given mission impossible almost
from the beginning. Much of the planning was
unbelievably inept and, against all those odds, as I say,
the courage and the commitment and the mateship and the
dedication to one another of the Australians is the thing
that shone through.
JOURNALIST: You had a chance to talk to some of the
veterans before they left Sydney last week. What came
though in terms of their expectations
PM: A number of things, great deal of emotions among
them. I think again more than anything the thought that
they were going to be back there with their mates. There
were about eight and a half thousand, and I say about
because there is no absolute certainty about the numbers
killed, but the Australian War Memorial talks in terms of
about 8,700 and most of those, of course, are there in
their graves in the about 26 cemetries that are dotted
around on the Peninsula and the thought that these men
being back there with their mates, I think, was something
that was uppermost in their mind because they realise how
fortunate they were, relatively, of course, to escape.
Many of these men were themselves very seriously wounded
and will carry that affliction for the rest of their life
and I think they think of the supreme sacrifice made by
their mates that are still there and I think the thought
of going back to be with them is the thing more than
anything, is uppermost in their mind.

JOURNALIST: By the time this is over it will have cost
perhaps millions of dollars. Was that ever a
consideration when you were thinking of doing this trip?
PM: No. Let's understand that the concept arose from
the representatives of the men themselves. Bill Hall,
the representative of the World War I veterans raised the
matter back in 1988 raised it with Kim Beazley. Kim
Beazley spoke to me and I immediately said yes, this
seemed a good idea. I think you can't measure these
things in terms of money. The fact is that this will be
the last significant occasion to which these veterans
will be able to go on this 75th anniversary. And what
they embodied, represented, not only in terms of
Gallipoli, but in terms of the sacrifice of Australian
servicemen and women throughout the century is something
which has given us the opportunity to enjoy our life
today and the amount of money that's involved is not
something to be measured against all those things.
JOURNALIST: Mr Hawke, obviously the Anzac Day ceremony
is at the centrepiece of the visit, but bilateral
discussions with the Turkish Government, how important
are they?
PM: Well, they will be important, but you rightly say
they are very much a subsidiary to our visit. I'll have
the opportunity of talking with the Prime Minister and
the President and those discussions will cover our
bilateral relations. We have trade with them, two-way
trade of over $ 100 million per annum. I think there are
significant opportunities for increasing Australian
exports to Turkey in the field of coal and iron ore.
Also they have a very big project there, in a way is
similar to the concept of the Snowy Mountains Scheme
which is involving 13 different centres in something like
ten percent of the land area of Turkey, to develop power
and irrigation. And I think we have the expertise to be
of assistance there, so I'll want to be talking about
that. I'll also obviously be wanting to get impressions
from them about developments in the Soviet Union. They
are so close to Azerbaijan and have historically close
links with the Soviet Union in regard to that area in
particular. Also they have been having problems with
Bulgaria and I'll be be wanting to get their feel of
developments in Eastern Europe. Obviously, also, we are
very much concerned about the stalemate between Turkey
and Greece in regard to Cyprus, I want to talk to them
about that.
JOURNALIST: ( inaudible)
PM: Yes I will.
JOURNALIST: ( inaudible)
PM: Not exclusively, but including the Kurds.

Transcript 8007