VETERANS ORGANISATIONS

I would like to thank the member for Hammond for bringing this motion to the house and also signal my support to the South Australian veteran community and the organisations that support them, in particular the RSL and Legacy and The Road Home. I am sure there are other organisations as well that do a wonderful, important job looking after both veterans and their families.

Of course, we have had ANZAC Day just recently, so a special tribute goes to the RSL clubs and the work that they do and the volunteers who organise what were quite large events this year. I attended the Walkerville memorial, where there were hundreds of people. We had large screens set up so that there could be better social distancing, using the park adjacent to the memorial gardens. Prospect also had their traditional gunfire breakfast after their memorial service, and of course there is the Torrens Parade Ground that hosts the march every year. There is also the Light Horsemen, which I have been going to ever since becoming a member of parliament. This year we did not have the horses. However, we still had a wonderful tribute towards the former servicemen and their horses.

I would also like to make a special mention of Rena Pascoe, who was one of the first female members to join the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) during World War II. I have had a good chat and spent many, many hours with Rena, hearing about her. She was spray-painting the camouflage on the aeroplanes during the World War II effort. In fact, she was born in the same year that the RAAF was started, which was 1921.

She was very much looking forward to celebrating this year as a special guest. It was incredibly sad to lose Rena last year at the age of 99 and about a half. She did not get to make it, and she was really, really was looking forward to that. Next week, it would have been Rena's 100th birthday on 12 May. We have a special memorial that I have been invited by the family to attend in recognition, so it is very timely that this motion is coming to the house.

I would also like to put on the record a wonderful poem that was written by Jeff Cook at Minlaton. It is a poem that I read out on ANZAC Day, with his permission, and I would love to read it into Hansard because I think it is such a wonderful poem about ANZACs and the dawn service and other veterans.

This was written by Jeff Cook:

They came from every walk of life, enlisting by the score

And offered up their very lives, to fight on foreign shore

They learned to use a rifle and to wield a bayonet,

In circumstances that survivors never could forget

Many even brought their horses to offer them as well

A reminder of all they'd left—p'raps homesickness to quell

For each one left a family—wife and children, parents too

None knew what future lay in store, but they'd do what they could do

They sailed off to a living hell to shoot at foreign foe

Fought seasickness and bullybeef with mates they'd yet to know,

But when they reached the beach-head, they still were far from shore

And were attacked while in the water, dying by the score.

Eight thousand died at ANZAC Cove and the legend was begun

Of the brave heroic ANZACS and their battles lost and won

The name and fame spread far and wide, of their courage and their skill

Of their stamina and their recklessness, and the name is with us still.

Though it still reflects the bravery that was earned in the first World War

It has a meaning of its own for it's come to mean much more

So ANZAC Day is how we now pay tribute to all those

From every war and every fight, in foreign lands with foreign foes

From the Boer War; World Wars One and Two; Korea; Vietnam;

Peace-keeping forces everywhere, and now Afghanistan

We honour all who served or serve, every single one who went

To fight for right and uphold the peace, while living in a tent.

In stinking sweaty jungles, or gale-driven desert sands

Crossing snake-infested swamps, or land-mine covered lands

In a submarine or jet fighter, or sailing stormy seas

We all owe a debt of gratitude to our people such as these.

Nursing in a makeshift hospital, or maybe feeding all the troops

Working in supply chains, or juggling bureaucratic hoops

They're not all on the front line, but they all play their part

Knowing thousands may depend on them, though perhaps a world apart

And so we gather here at dawn, and each year the number grows

As people recognise the debt that each one of us owes

There is no way no matter what, we can't repay that debt

But let's be thankful every day, lest we should just forget

Lest We Forget!