MS TIERNEY (Minister for Training and Skills) — One of the best features of the two Anzac Day services I attended was the engagement of young people and children in the ceremonies and the dignity and respect they brought to the events. This was especially so at Portarlington, where school students and sporting team members attended, but it was also evident at Geelong’s pre-dawn service. Both had significant numbers of community members turning out despite the wet weather.
To understand the commemoration of death and sacrifice in wars that now date back over 100 years is so very, very important. It is a time every year for all of us, but especially young Australians, to appreciate our tradition of conducting ceremonies that are simple, reflective and contemplative. This year four students from my electorate of Western Victoria Region won the Premier’s Spirit of Anzac Prize, and another two were finalists. Hannah Loveday, Rebecca Zerbe and Piper Hinkley of Warrnambool, Rebekah Albrecht of Dimboola and Joshua Newcombe and Lauren Huth from Camperdown wrote sensitively about the impact of war on the lives of service people in the First World War. They showed that they understand how war impacts on communities, including women and young people, in both different and negative ways. I congratulate these six students on their research and writing but also importantly their teachers.
Congratulations also to those who organised Anzac Day services throughout Western Victoria. It is an important national day that gives us a chance to value our shared past while looking forward with optimism.