AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL - CANBERRA
FRIDAY, 14 NOVEMBER 2014
REMARKS AT WAR MEMORIAL
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Prime Minister Cameron, distinguished guests, veterans.
Prime Minister Cameron, thank you for your memorable address to our Parliament this morning.
Your speech showed such a deep understanding of our nation – and the values that our two countries are so proud to share.
Open economies, multicultural societies, freedom of speech, a free press, and the great gift of parliamentary democracy.
Today at the heart of our Australian democracy, we meet on ground made hallow by those who died for their country.
This building was not part of the original design of Canberra.
The brutal war and fragile peace that inspired its construction were beyond contemplation when the foundation stone of our capital was laid.
Today we cannot imagine Canberra without it –this great secular cathedral, dedicated to the courage, service and sacrifice of all those who risked their lives in Australia’s name.
It has become a focal point for our national memory - a permanent reminder of the dreadful cost that Britain, Australia and all our allies bore in the fight for freedom.
As your great wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill once said:
‘We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us’
At the official opening of this Memorial, on Remembrance Day 1941, our great wartime Prime Minister John Curtin said:
‘No-one who enters this building can leave it without some deepening and enriching of their inner spiritual life.’
Let that be true for all of us – Britons and Australians both.
Together, let us vow to live up to the standard of those who fought for us, and those now lost to us.
Together, let us celebrate and commemorate the values and ideals that our two countries have always stood for.
As Prime Minister Cameron said this morning:
‘[these values] are the best basis for the fulfilment of human ambitions and dreams, more so than ever in the 21st Century.’
Together, let us remember that, always.
Lest we forget.
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