Former Deputy Prime Minister and Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Barnaby Joyce is encouraging every Australian to take just one minute out of today to pause and honour the service and sacrifice of all Australians who have suffered and given their lives for their nation.
Mr Joyce said it is vital to continue the tradition of pausing at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month to commemorate our fallen.
“When anyone gets a spare minute, they should google one of the diaries of a soldier on the Western Front to get a horrific insight into the morass and evil which is war,” Mr Joyce said.
“Then imperial Germany was on Australia’s doorstep before the start of World War I: New Guinea was a German protectorate. The war was incredibly relevant to the sustenance and progression of a liberal democratic world.
“Just short of 417,000 Australians enlisted out of a population of nearly five million; that represented 38.7% of the male population aged between 18 to 44. Over 60,000 were killed, 155,000 were wounded in action including from gassing; and of those who came home, 30,000 died from their war-related injuries.
“In return, all that is asked of some is to pause for just one minute at 11am to remember this human calamity.
“We should all ask ourselves the question: is having a cup of coffee and trying to rush through the check-out at that all-important one-minute at 11am, more important than their lives? For the sake of your forebears and the families who had loved ones serve in this calamitous war, they so obviously deserve the dignity of one minute’s silence.”
Mr Joyce will attend today’s ceremony at the Australian War Memorial as part of the official party representing the Leader of the Federal Opposition, Peter Dutton.