The Write Direction: ANZAC Reaction

ANZAC Day is truly Australia’s day of spiritual awareness and we all experience it in different ways.

This year I did it from the couch but watched the full march in Sydney as shown on ABC TV.

It never ceases to impress my senses, especially in watching the ever-increasing crowds it draws to the city with age and humanity being demonstrated in every possible form.

I love the pipe bands and school cadet corps on display and am always impressed with the professional skills of the marching contingents from all of our armed services.

Then it was followed by the moving service at Gallipoli with New Zealand’s turn to be in charge of proceedings this year.

There were memorable takeaways from this event.

The fluency of the New Zealander master of ceremonies, the skills of the service people involved; but the surprise to me was the way in which the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia excelled with his speech and its content.

Richard Marles is often seen on TV news and my assessment was that he was unsure in his presentation, timid and overly concerned that every question he received might be a trick or a “gotcha” moment by the interviewer.

At ANZAC Cove, he was brilliant.

He held his head high, never looked at any notes, his delivery was flawless and the content was brilliant.

The next standout was surely the New Zealander girl who performed Ave Maria and whose skills were of top operatic level.

She went on to sing the national anthems and I’m sure that every New Zealand citizen must have been bursting with pride with the manner and quality of her presentation.

Even the New Zealand Deputy PM, Winston Peters, showed his skills, making the whole ceremony one of brilliance.

Surely the two presentations I experienced on TV were so well done that it couldn’t get any better than that.

Well maybe not, but the Villers-Bretonneux ceremony in France was right up there too in quality and sincerity.

Here the takeaway for me was again in the skills of the Army’s MC and his ability to seamlessly switch from English to French, then back again.

But even he was surpassed by the lady who was Australia’s number one diplomat in France, whose presentation skills were of the highest of levels that we have come to expect from our diplomats.

Surely she must have greatly impressed the French audience with her skills and ability, bringing great appreciation and awareness of the French way of life.

As impressive and skillful as the ANZAC events in Sydney, Gallipoli and France were, the Prime Minister’s visit to PNG was also hugely important.

The TV concentrated on his walking of small sections of the Kokoda Track with PNG PM James Marape and the ANZAC ceremony that followed at Insurawa in the PNG highlands, where Australian troops halted the Japanese attempt to capture Port Moresby.

This was the point in our part of the world where we turned the tables on the Japanese.

That, in turn, saved Australia too.

Having an ANZAC Day event in PNG is an important diplomatic opportunity.

It serves as a demonstration of Australia’s friendship with the people and government of PNG.

This must surely drive home to the people of PNG that Australia is their logical friend and that the efforts of the Chinese communist Government to buy the loyalty of the PNG population should be seen as nothing more than the attempt by a distant foreign government to buy influence in their country, with no previous form there on the ground and no clear direction of their intent for the future of PNG.


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