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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 9704

TRANSCRIPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER, THE HON P J KEATING MP, AND THE MINISTER FOR VETERANS' AFFAIRS, THE HON CON SCIACCA MP AUSTRALIA REMEMBERS SPECIAL, SEVEN NETWORK, TOWNSVILLE, 14 AUGUST 1995

Photo of Keating, Paul

Keating, Paul

Period of Service: 20/12/1991 to 11/03/1996

More information about Keating, Paul on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 14/08/1995

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 9704

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PRIME MINISTER
TRANSCRIPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER, THE HON P J KEATING MP, AND
THE MINISTER FOR VETERANS' AFFAIRS, THE HON CON SCIACCA MP
AUSTRALIA REMEMBERS SPECIAL, SEVEN NETWORK, TOWNSVILLE,
14 AUGUST 1995
E& OE PROOF COPY
ROD HENSHAW: Let's go back to Con in Townsville. Con Sciacca you also have a very
interesting and very special guest for us this afternoon?
CON SCIACCA: I do Rod. probably my chiefest backer in this whole program has been the
prime Minister Paul Keating, welcome Prime Minister, I guess you'd have a certain amount of
interest in this, there's no doubt about that. Don't you agree that we really did need to do
something on this very special year?
PAUL KEATING: I think so con. This was too significant a commitment, the losses were too
great, for it not to mean something 50 years later, the community action of this kind, which
Australians had never seen the likes of before, and as I said the commitment was too great. was
not something to simply be left to contemporary memory, but now the opportunity was ours, half a
century later, to tell Australians about the Pacific War, to lift it in our history, to understand that
this was the fight to save Australia, and Australia was saved, liberties were kept, our way of life
we created here was maintained, and that we owe it all to those people who did that, to keep
going. ROD HENSHAW: Prime Minister, Thanks very much for joining us on the program this
afternoon. Like me you were born after the war, but had you taken a personal interest in
Australias involvement to such an extent, before the Australia Remembers juggernaut got going.-
PAUL KEATING, Yes, I've made it one of the quite interestingly in my Prime Ministership
which started at the end of December 1991, it started just before the 50th Anniversary and the fall
of Singapore, in 1942, so through this period, 1992 to 1995, 1 really had the opportunity to span
the war years, shadowed by 50 years. So when I went to Kokoda in Papua New Guinea in 1992,
and then to Hell Fire Pass in Thailand, and Kanchanaburi, to various other sites around Asia, I
wanted to use the opportunity to bring home the lesson of the Pacific War which was not really as
well understood in Australian History, as the First World War, yet this was the war that saved
Australia. And you may also know that one of my own family died in one of the death marches
from Sandakan to Ranau In North Borneo, and I was aware of that, I was aware of all of that
prisoner of war, the prisoner of war saga of Australia even when I was a child and so these things
have been in my mind but overwhelmingly what's in my mind is to teach younger Australians, this
generation of Australians that we owe a debt to the generation, that heroic generation, that fought
and saved Australia, and to understand that this was the battle for Australia. While we had allied
obligations in the First World War, it did not involve the defence of Australia, this happened in the
Second World War and it's why I have as Con said, been a strong supporter of his, and of
Australia Remembers because this was the opportunity to bring it together with Victory in the
Pacific. the commemoration 50 years on.
ends

Transcript 9704