I write this on the eve of the first day of the 2018 Parliamentary sitting year. It’s a day spent kick starting committee work, Question Time, debating legislation and catching up with colleagues after the summer recess.
And it’s a day spent honouring those Australians who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation at the Australian War Memorial’s Last Post Ceremony.
The design of our nation’s capital mean parliamentarians and public servants are constantly mindful of those who have served and fallen for the freedoms we enjoy today. New Parliament House and Old Parliament House both face the Australian War Memorial beyond the stretch of Anzac Parade.
At the Last Post Ceremony the Prime Minister, Opposition Leader, Service Chiefs and parliamentarians gather with Australians and visitors from all around the world to pause to reflect and remember.
The ceremony begins with the Australian national anthem followed by the piper's lament. Wreaths and floral tributes are then laid beside the Pool of Reflection. An individual's story is told, and the Ode is recited by an Australian Defence Force member. The ceremony ends with the sounding of the Last Post. The ceremony is held 364 days of the year. Each day the story is told of one of the more than 102,000 Australians on the Roll of Honour.
As a terrible testament to the toll of conflict, it will take nearly 300 years to commemorate every person on the Roll of Honour. The Australian Memorial is committed to ensuring that each story will be told.
This year we will honour Corporal John Arthur Metson, a 24 year old from Melbourne who was killed in action in Papua New Guinea during World War II and is laid to rest at Port Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery.
The Last Post Ceremony is a sombre and moving reminder – at the beginning of the parliamentary sitting year – of the responsibility and duty of our role as decision makers for the nation and the future of Australians.
Lest We Forget