Anzac Day is the day that we commemorate the landing on the Gallipoli peninsula by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. But it’s a day that we commemorate what’s great about Australia. And what’s great about Australia is our diversity, is the fabric of Australia. You know, the interwoven faith, the interwoven ethnicity that makes Australia who we are today.
We have people from multiple ethnic backgrounds. We have Chinese Australians, and we have Hindu Australians, and we have Sikh Australians. And we have Jewish Australians. These are stories that need to be told, and we’re richer for telling them. We’re richer for incorporating them in the Anzac story and remembering them on Anzac Day, because it’s who we are as a nation.
I think the best value embodied in the Anzac spirit is candour, or honesty. And it speaks to that unique Australian characteristic of just telling it how it is, of being truthful. And whenever I meet and Australian, wherever I meet an Australian, there is a sense of openness. And I think that’s what comes through wherever you meet an Australian anywhere in the world, those qualities shine through.
The things that Australians hold dear will never change. But as we become a richer nation for incorporating more cultures into our country, I think that our cultures will change slightly, but I do think that absolutely the things that we hold dear; parliamentary democracy, the rule of law, freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of religion. Those things are absolute and they won’t change.
The Australian War Memorial. It’s a place where Australian people can come and they can look at what’s truly great about Australia. They can learn about the two million women and men who have worn this nation’s uniform over the last hundred years. And they can understand why these people put service before self. So for me the Australian War Memorial is a chance for people to come and understand what it truly means to be Australian, and to reflect upon those who have paid the highest price.