Senator for Tasmania Guy Barnett
TASMANIA SNUBBED ON VICTORIA CROSS TOUR
Victor P Taffa
Tasmania has been excluded from a nationwide tour of 9 Victoria Cross medals organised to coincide with the 95th anniversary of Gallipoli.
“This is a snub to Tasmania and our fine record of military service to our nation. Tasmania is the home state of 13 of Australia’s 97 Victoria Cross recipients, the highest proportion of any state or territory.” Liberal Senator Guy Barnett said today.
“I will be writing to the Australian War Memorial and to the Australian Government to express my concerns and to request the tour be extended to include Tasmania.”
“This is an important event which the Australian War Memorial has confirmed is unique and may never happen again. To leave Tasmania off the program is simply not good enough.”
“I know that at least 3 of Tasmania’s 13 Victoria Cross recipients also served at Gallipoli. They are Australia’s most highly decorated soldier, Lieutenant Colonel Harry Murray of Evandale, Sergeant John Dwyer of Bruny Island and Captain Percy Cherry of Craddock.”
“I have raised these concerns with the President of the RSL in Tasmania and they are also concerned that Tasmania has been left out.”
“Tasmanians draw just as much pride and inspiration from these brave men as any of our mainland cousins. A tour such as this is an opportunity for young and old Australians to better appreciate the sacrifice and courage demonstrated by these men.” Senator Barnett said.
The tour honours the 95th anniversary of Gallipoli, which is a noble objective. More than 8,700 Australians died and there were 19,000 casualties in that campaign.
“In total 44,000 Allies and 86,000 Turks during just 8 months of battle. Nevertheless, the ANZACS at Gallipoli left a profound legacy that lasts to this day.”
The tour is currently set to visit Western Australia, Northern Territory, South Australia and Queensland from next month, during renovations to the Australian War Memorial’s ‘Hall of Valour’.
The Victoria Cross is the highest award for acts of bravery during wartime with the most recent being awarded to Trooper Mark Donaldson for acts of bravery in Afghanistan in January 2009. Trooper Donaldson was further honoured on Australia Day as Young Australian of the Year for 2010.
Senator Barnett produced a book entitled Our Heroes, Tasmania’s Victoria Cross Recipients with the support of the RSL, which is now in its 3rd print run. Copies of the book are available from Senator Barnett’s office.