Anzac Day message 2022

As we pause today (April 25) to remember the fallen, we reflect on the sacrifices made by our first Anzacs and the efforts of every service man and woman who has served in defence of our nation.

Today, we consider the importance of our national identity – our loyalty, mateship and fair-minded Australian values – and honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that we could continue to live in the peaceful, free Australia that we know today.

With the current situation evolving in Ukraine and a changing geopolitical landscape closer to home, we are reminded that the safety of our shores is something Australians must not take for granted, and we offer gratitude to our current Australian Defence personnel who continue to serve our country, risking their lives to keep Australia safe, and secure peace and freedom around the world.

We recognise the more than 1.5 million service men and women who have served our country in all conflicts, wars and peacekeeping operations, and in particular, we remember the more than 102,000 Australians who sacrificed their lives in our country’s name.

This year we observed the 80th anniversary the Bombing of Darwin, when on the morning of 19 February 1942, the harsh realities of war reached the shores of mainland Australia for the first time.

Two Japanese raids devastated the city of Darwin, and took the lives of more than 250 Australian and Allied service personnel, and civilians.

And so began a dark and challenging chapter in the history of our nation – a series of air raids across north-western Australia which continued for 21 long months, until November 1943.

With the very real danger of invasion, our country and the people of Darwin rose to the occasion.

Men and women, defence personnel and civilians alike, they all showed incredible courage in rescuing people from burning ships, while local doctors and nurses tended the wounded and dying.

They showed resolute determination and bravery, and most of all, the mateship that Australians are so rightly proud of.

And following this shocking attack on Australia, our defence personnel in New Guinea, Borneo, Solomon Islands, and across the South Pacific and Southeast Asia, helped to halt the Japanese forces.

Working alongside our allies, Australia’s defence forces turned the tide against militarism, and won a heroic victory.

The Bombing of Darwin and the events that followed had a heartbreaking impact on all Australians, and shaped our nation’s course.

But as time marches on, there are fewer survivors of that terrible attack who are still with us to share their stories.

Like those who came before them, and those who continue to serve in defence of our country today, we must ensure their stories are told; their legacy is remembered; and that their courage and sacrifice are never forgotten.

Lest We Forget.