Remembrance Day


I rise to support the motion and thank both the Premier and the Leader of the Opposition, who speak in this parliament on behalf of all South Australians, for this important recognition and the ongoing future recognition of those who serve to protect freedoms.

Over the last four years in South Australia, as it has been across the free world, there has been recognition of the many battles and many losses and of the tens of thousands of people who lost their lives and the millions who were injured—the plight, pain and sacrifice of the four years that traversed and shattered the world between 1914 and 1918.

This week should be a joyful week because it celebrates the end of the actual conflict, the centenary of the armistice, but it is fair to say that you only have to walk or drive around South Australia and see the many memorial hospitals that were built after World War I to see the continuing pain and suffering of those who returned, those who were severely injured and the many who lost their lives post 1918 to understand the significant sacrifice. As the Premier and Leader of the Opposition have mentioned, of course this is an intolerable loss and sacrifice for the families who lost their fathers, brothers, sons and the like.

Only when one loses a family member in conflict, especially someone from a small community, is that pain so intolerable. The loss of Sapper Jamie Larcombe, a South Australian, was one that hit the Kangaroo Island community very deeply. He is not the first soldier to die from that community, but he was recent and it was raw and it was painful. His loss while serving is well known, and his immeasurable loss to that community continues in that regard. He is recognised in perpetuity in a mental health service that has now been rebuilt at the Glenside campus of the Royal Adelaide Hospital, and I think that it is sad that his name should be immortalised in this way. I would prefer him to be here, to have partnered and to have had many children for the rest of his family to enjoy. But he is not here to do that, and we should honour that.

It would not be well known, but we now have women military officers returning to South Australia in need of our support. Why? Of course, they were not in direct conflict a hundred years ago, but they were up to their arms in blood providing medical and other support to those who were at the front line. They had to meet the significant loss when their fathers, brothers and sons did not come home. They had to carry on with their lives in our state and in their local communities. But women are now amongst the number who return injured and they are also to be recognised.

We have accommodated some of our services, importantly providing mental health services for those with a PTSD trauma who return, for example. However, I believe that we need to do a lot more for women who have served in the military. Much has been said about some of the matters they have had to endure during their military service, but I think that there is a lot more to be done. We on our side of the house are working very hard with the Premier to ensure that we not only deal with the transition back to life, and civilian life, for those who return to us but that we do not forget the unique experiences that some of our women personnel have contributed and will continue to contribute.

They are at the front line in our military service and they will continue to be. I am proud of their being there and I am grateful that they are there. It is incumbent on all governments to ensure that we properly support them in their reaccreditations, their re-employment and their restoration to civilian and family life and give them every opportunity that they would have had without the contribution they made in military service.