Australia: Centenary

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:40 pm on 5 July 2000.

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Photo of Baroness Scotland of Asthal Baroness Scotland of Asthal Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Foreign & Commonwealth Office 2:40, 5 July 2000

My Lords, we are acutely aware of the service given by Australians in the two world wars and in many other wars. During the Gallipoli campaign they suffered thousands of casualties. The Minister for the Armed Forces, John Spellar, travelled to the Gallipoli peninsula in April to commemorate the 85th anniversary of ANZAC day and the sacrifices made by Australian, British and other troops. I was at the commemoration at the Cenotaph in London. I was also with John Howard when he laid a wreath to the war dead at the Cenotaph this morning. I was deeply moved on both occasions.

I am able to say that last night John Howard announced that the Australian Government will build a war memorial in London. The Prime Minister and Her Majesty's Government warmly welcome that initiative. I should also like to pay tribute to the distinguished service of the father of the noble Viscount, Lord Slim, the late first Viscount Slim, who was a valiant commander-in-chief of the allied land forces in South-East Asia, which included Australian troops, and who was described by the late Lord Mountbatten as the finest general the Second World War produced. The noble Viscount, Lord Slim, himself should be mentioned for his successful term and for his contribution in that regard. I do so most warmly.