Speech - Constituency Statement (Centenary of Anzac)









This year we commemorate the centenary of the Anzac landings and honour the service of those who fought in the Great War and subsequent wars. After that war and many others, our troops returned to face a very different kind of adversity. The mental and physical trauma which returned with our troops from the battlefield was not well understood and tormented many of them for the rest of their lives—men like my grandfather, who was gassed and wounded on the Somme, and my father, a World War II veteran who was TPI when he died.

As our knowledge and understanding of the mental and physical trauma suffered by current ex-service personnel has grown, we have set up institutions and organisations which provide support and care to help our service personnel. One such organisation is Mates4Mates, who support current and ex-serving Australian Defence Force members—and their families—who have suffered physical or psychological wounds, injuries or illnesses as a result of their service. The services provided by Mates4Mates include physical rehabilitation, psychological counselling, career coaching, adventure challenges and equine therapy. Above all, what organisations like Mates4Mates do is something simpler but very much deeper: they provide loyal friendship. That is really what we have to do for our veterans, and their widows and descendants, today—be brave and loyal friends, including to the very young just returned from Iraq and Afghanistan. We have to be good mates, looking out for them and the loved ones they have left behind for us to care for.

That is why on 23 May I was so honoured to participate in the WW1 Queenslander Challenge, which aims to raise money in support of Mates4Mates. The WW1 Queenslander Challenge is a trek which begins at the Enoggera Reservoir in The Gap, Brisbane. Held every March, May, August and October until 2018, participants carry a brick with the name of a fallen World War I digger from Queensland engraved on it. It goes through the D'Aguilar National Park and finishes at the Woodford RSL. When the challenge concludes in 2018, the bricks carried across the course will be returned to the Gap to construct a monument in tribute to those Queenslanders who never returned home. So far nearly 80 people have completed the challenge, raising almost $10,000 in support of Mates4Mates.

But over the next three years we have the opportunity to do so much more and TO support an organisation which provides essential support to our service men and women. So I would certainly call on all other Queensland MPs and businesses to get involved with Mates4Mates. You can go on to their website at ww1queenslanderchallenge.com.au, and you can go along for a pretty sturdy walk through that national park out to Woodford on one of the occasions on which the march is going. This is a great way to build a bridge not just between the community and our war service men and women but also for our younger people who can walk to support our war veterans.