Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania

25 April 2020

Peter Gutwein, Premier

ANZAC Day Address

Well, thank you, Minister Barnett, and if I could acknowledge Robert Dick, State President of the RSL.

I’ll pay my respects to the traditional original owners of this land and acknowledge elders past, present and emerging.

Anzac Day has and always will be a day that as a country we pause to remember those who on our behalf and for our benefit have served and have sacrificed so much.

This year, Anzac Day will be different to years gone by. There will be no dawn service attended by thousands of people. There will be no march.  There will be crowds. There will be few floral tributes laid.

However, what will remain, what will endure, will be the deep affection, the deep respect, the deep admiration that we feel for those men and women who have served, so that we all can live without fear and oppression.

This year, Anzac Day will be a day of quiet but powerful reflection, a day where our personal thoughts and prayers will be our way of honouring those who have and are still serving.

Today, through small actions, like turning on a porch light or standing in silence in our driveway, we will provide the recognition that so many deserve. Through these small actions we acknowledge, we remember and we say thank you, whilst also ensuring that we protect the health and safety of our veterans, their families and our community.

This year, to remember, to honour and to protect the health of those who have served and have protected our way of life, Tasmanians across this state will be staying home. However, today we honour all who have served with Australia’s Defence Forces, all who have served and sacrificed for peace.

Today, we remember and recognise the service of all those who have served with Australia’s Defence Forces and we also remember the role of Australia’s defence personnel as peacekeepers and peacemakers for over 70 years.

Today, we thank with deep gratitude the more than 10,500 veterans in Tasmania who contributed to the safety and security of our way of life. They have provided immeasurable contributions to our communities.

This Anzac Day marks the 105th anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli.

During the Great War generations of Australians were lost.

From a population of fewer than five million, 416,809 men and women enlisted of which more than 60,000 were killed and 156,000 wounded, gassed or taken prisoner.

2,432 Tasmanians lost their lives from the 15,485 Tasmanians who enlisted to service during the war.

A further 40,000 Australians have lost their life since in active service in World War II and subsequent conflicts across the globe.

To those that have gone before us, to those who are still with us and to all those who currently serve, be assured that your dedication, your bravery and your efforts for peace will never be forgotten.

Comradeship, courage, endurance, initiative and mateship, these are some of the words used to describe the incredible spirit and bravery that occurred at Gallipoli. It is this spirit that our current servicemen and women exemplify.

This spirit was captured in the deeds of Simpson with his donkey at Gallipoli. Comradeship, courage and sacrifice and, importantly, others before self.

And whilst I would not dare compare the hardship or the sacrifice that our veterans have faced in many theatres of combat, for the challenges before us now, it is this spirit that all of us must now call upon.

Today, we face our own challenges. Today, an invisible enemy is upon our shore, an invisible enemy that has already taken too many lives.

The Anzac spirit has never been more important, never been more needed and has never been more evident than through the selfless actions of our health professionals, our police and emergency service, our Defence Force and, importantly, those Tasmanians who simply go to work in both the public and private sectors to keep our industries and our communities going.

It is evident in the kindness shown within communities, as food and supplies are dropped at a neighbour’s door, or by the phone call or text just to a mate asking if they are okay.

It is this spirit that unites us as community. It is this spirit that was evident in those that fought and died to protect our freedoms that we are so thankful for, and it is this spirit that we will once again use to get us through the challenges that we now face.

As a community, in this time of need, whilst we can’t physically come together, we must, as one, stand together.

This morning, it has been an honour and it has certainly been my privilege to have been able to speak with you.

Thank you.

May you all stay safe.

Lest we forget.