Additional Comments and partial dissent
Peninsula and ANZAC Cove are indisputably places of major significance to
Australians and the Senate has acted responsibly in trying to ensure public
examination of the facts about recent activities there and any possible damage
to the area.
Government has been eager to exploit public relations opportunities by
associating itself with protecting and promoting the ANZAC legend and
traditions, all of which are given physical reinforcement at Gallipoli. There
is little doubt, however, that this has not been backed up by a genuine
commitment to do everything possible to ensure the heritage values of this
irreplaceable area are properly protected.
I support Committee
recommendations 1-5 and 8-9 of this report.
However, whilst I
can see some merit in the idea of some type of military commemorations
committee as outlined in recommendations 6 and 7, the weight of evidence
provided to this specific inquiry was not sufficient to convince me to support
these two recommendations at this time.
I believe the idea would benefit from further examination and
consultation among ex-Service Organisations and the wider veterans community
before proceeding with it.
I am supportive of
the specific content and general thrust of most of the findings outlined in the
Committee's main report. However, based
on the evidence that I am aware was presented to this Inquiry, I do not wish to
be as definitive in my assessment as to whether bone fragments were unearthed
as a consequence of the roadworks, or of the extent of the heritage damage and
loss of significant sites. This is in
part due to the very fact which the Committee has identified in Chapter 4 of
the report – the inadequate research, survey work and cataloguing of the
military heritage of the area conducted prior to the roadworks commencing.
Given how regularly
Australian Governments have extolled the importance of Gallipoli over so many
years, it is of great surprise and alarm to me to have discovered that there
are such significant gaps in the heritage assessments of the area. I particularly want to emphasise the need to
ensure the marine areas - as well the land areas - of the battlefield are fully
researched and assessed.
Democrat Senator for
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