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OECD Expects Australian Economic Growth to Increase in 2004
April 24, 2003
Address to Australian Business in Europe – “Economic Perspectives 2003: Australia and the Asia Pacific Region”
April 29, 2003
OECD Expects Australian Economic Growth to Increase in 2004
April 24, 2003
Address to Australian Business in Europe – “Economic Perspectives 2003: Australia and the Asia Pacific Region”
April 29, 2003

Anzac Day



Interview with Neil Mitchell, 3AW

25 April 2003




…the battlefields, how did it strike you, what did you think about when

you were out there?


You cannot help but be moved by the scene and the enormity of the challenge

that faced the troops as they landed, looked up at cliffs which were defended.

There were a lot of young Australians that were picking their way across the

battlefields and looking for names and gravestones on the memorials. And you

cannot help but feel this is a pretty special place for all Australians. It

was in 1915 and still is today.


Were you emotionally moved by it?


I don’t think you can come here and not be emotionally moved because Gallipoli,

and the landing of Gallipoli, not just because of the bravery of the troops

but because of what it meant for Australia. It now says a lot about who we are

and how we see ourselves and that moves you.

What also moves you is you see name after name of young soldier that may not

even know where they are buried but they are just recorded in the memorials

which is pretty moving stuff.


I think this is your first time there, isn’t it? Did it live up to what you



Absolutely. You can’t get an idea of the challenge until you see it. You know,

they talk about Anzac Cove as a beach, well, that is all of about 10 metres

wide and then you run into a huge cliff and there were snipers on these cliffs,

and it is all so close. When you look at maps you get the idea that the troops

were quite a way from each other. But they were almost on top of each other

in some of these trenches and as it turned out, living there for nearly eight

months. And the privation must have been enormous.


Why has this captured our national imagination, our spirit? It is almost our

national day, why has it had this impact? Can you see that now that you have

been there?


I think that travel to Gallipoli is now becoming something for young Australians,

almost something that they want to do to prove their commitment to their country.

They see it as almost a sacred place for pilgrimage. And just watching the backpackers

coming in and talking to them some of them have been travelling for years, some

have just been travelling for weeks, but they get to Istanbul and they make

for Gallipoli on Anzac Day and they want to feel part of something that is very

uniquely Australian. And the thing that impresses me is that these are young

kids and many of them are kids that, back home, may have dropped out, or back

home probably wouldn’t even go to an Anzac Day. But when they come across here

they feel that this is a very important part of Australia and they want to be

part of it.


Do you feel that it will be very much affected, the event today, by the terrorist



Well, there have been a lot of warnings, Neil, and we are warning people to

be careful about their safety and the tourist operators and the bus companies

are reporting that the crowds won’t be as great as they have been in the past.

But it is our view that this is such an important day for Australia it has got

to go on and our Government is taking all steps which are reasonable to try

and secure the arrangements here.


And what will your role be here in the Dawn Service and the ceremony?


I will be speaking on behalf of the Australians and talking about what Anzac

means to us and what the original Anzacs meant to us when they came ashore on

the 25th April 1915.


Does it feel more timely because of what is, has been happening in Iraq?


Well, it reminds you that there are always problems in the world. There are

problems in the world today just as there were in 1915. You can’t turn your

back on them, you cannot walk away and pretend they are not there. And young

Australians, even today, are serving in the Middle East because they want to

make a difference, they want to address some of these problems. And you think

back how their grandfathers and great-grandfathers would have felt the same

in 1915. Thankfully in Iraq we have not taken anything like the casualties that

Australians took at Gallipoli, but I think the same spirit is there. And you

see the continuation coming down through the generations of Australian servicemen

and women who want to serve and want to give on behalf of their country.


Yes, just finally I was talking to one of our F-18 pilots in Iraq last week.

He used to march with his great-grandfather who was a Gallipoli veteran, and

now he is carrying on that tradition and can’t wait to get back to this country

and be involved again.


Fabulous to see the generations of Australians, a First World War and a Second

World War, and Vietnam, and right down now to Iraq, people who have always answered

the call and made a difference. And I think that is where the spirit of Gallipoli

lives on, that this is now so much part of how we regard ourselves. But, it

is a spirit which can inspire successive generations of Australians. I have

seen that here in Gallipoli, how they are inspired, by not in a showy way, but

in a quiet way, what a difference it means to them. And I think the original

example will provide, it will provide inspiration for generations to come.


Well, it must be a privilege to be there. Mr Costello, thank you very much

for your time today.


Thanks very much for your time.