November 13 - 19, 2016: Issue 289

Remembrance Day 2016 Commemorative Service At Avalon Beach RSL Cenotaph

Remembrance Day 2016 Commemorative Service at Avalon Beach RSL Cenotaph

The Avalon Beach RSL sub-Branch 2016 Remembrance Day Commemorative Service was led by President of the sub-Branch, Commodore Graham Sloper (RAN Rtd.). As the Service commenced at a few minutes to 11 a.m. the sub-Branch President asked all to stand and observe a minute’s silence.

Commodore Sloper began this year’s proceedings with a quote from Lord Alfred Tennyson:
The old order changeth, yielding place to new…’ [1.]

“What we’re about to experience here, after 14 years of you having the dubious privilege of having to listen to me run Services, is that today will be the last one I conduct.” Avalon Beach RSL’s sub-Branch President explained

“Before I introduce our Distinguished Guests I would like to acknowledge the outstanding work and contribution of our Vice President Bob Lacey, Tamara Sloper Harding, Office Manger Lynn Murphy, the Committee and all those who have supported the sub-Branch in my recent absence.

In opening the formal proceedings for the 2016 Remembrance Day Commemoration Service Commodore Sloper stated the Guests of Honour were the Legacy Widows, as is practice at Avalon Beach RSL each Remembrance Day. 

“On this day above all days, we remember those who, through the great tragedy of war, gave their lives for Australia and the freedom of all people. We remember all those who fell in the Air, on the Sea and on the Land, our loyal friends in the Commonwealth and Allied Forces.
We think of every man, woman and child who died so that the lights of Freedom, and of Humanity, might continue to shine. 
May we and our successors prove worthy of their sacrifice.”  Commodore Sloper stated

When introducing The Hon. Natasha Maclaren-Jones, MLC, Government Whip, Commodore Sloper outlined some of the works undertaken by this NSW MP;
“Having worked in both the public and private health sectors, Natasha brings to Parliament broad experience in public policy development.
Before entering Parliament, Natasha worked as a public affairs and government relations consultant, providing services to multinational health care companies and industry associations. She also worked as an adviser to Ministers in the Howard Government and as a registered nurse. She holds a Bachelor of Nursing and a Masters of Health Services Management.
Natasha plays an active role in the NSW Legislative Council, in addition to being the Government Whip, she has served as Temporary Chair of Committees for the NSW Legislative Council and Chair of the General Purpose Standing Committee 3, responsible for Regional Infrastructure and Services, Roads and Freight, Tourism and Major Events, Local Government and Trade and Investment.

As one of the founders of the St John’s Parliamentary Auxiliary, Natasha has served as Deputy Chair since 2011. She has also served as the Chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Duke of Edinburgh’s Award since founding the group in 2014.

Since their formation in 2015, Natasha has also served as Chair of the Parliamentary Friends for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, and Chair of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of the United States of America. 

Natasha has previously served as a Temporary Chair of Committees and on a number of committees including as the Chair of the Law and Justice Committee. She has been a member of the NSW Government’s Violent Domestic Crimes Taskforce, Standing Committee on Social Issues and Committee on the Health Care Complaints Commission.

Her commitment to the communities and people of New South Wales is clearly reinforced through a few quotes I’d like to share from her Speeches:

On the Economy; “We’ve put in place the economic framework that encourages growth and job creation”.
On women: "We are committed to achieving justice and equality for the women of NSW through policy, innovation and collaboration".

And finally, on families; “The NSW Government is committed to protecting the most vulnerable in our society – children, victims of crime, and those experiencing hardship and disadvantage.”

Legacy Widows, Honoured Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,  The Hon. Natasha Maclaren-Jones.”

Remembrance Day 2016 Commemorative Address
The Hon. Natasha Maclaren-Jones
Government Whip
Member of the Legislative Council
Parliament of NSW

Remembrance Day is a sacred day for our country as we honour the sacrifice of our service men and women and, importantly, their families. It is a time for us all to remember the extraordinary deeds of the thousands of Australian men and women who ensured our nation's security and the freedom that each and every one us enjoys in this great country. We pay our respects and honour their legacy with immense pride and a great sense of gratitude. Remembrance Day for me, like so many Australians, is a day full of emotion. It is a day for us to be thankful for what they have done and continue to do by putting our country first during difficult times and enduring the best and worst of humanity. We are thankful to those who have given their all in the defence of our freedoms and the values we stand for as Australians that we are obliged to protect and preserve for future generations.
At the eleventh hour, on the eleventh day, of the eleventh month we commemorate the signing of the Armistice by King George V in 1918 that brought an end to the Great War, the First World War, in which Australia grew and identified itself as a nation. As part of the main commemorative ceremony on the first anniversary at the new Cenotaph in London two minutes silence was proposed by Australian journalist Edward Honey, who was then working in Fleet Street. A similar proposal was put to the British Cabinet. King George V personally requested the people of the British Empire to suspend normal activities for two minutes on the hour to acknowledge the carnage of the four preceding years and mark the victory of right and freedom.
This was rightly adopted and has become a central feature of commemorations.

After the end of the World War II the Australian and British governments changed the name to Remembrance Day, as Armistice Day was no longer an appropriate title for a day on which to commemorate those who have died in war. I remember as a school child that every person would stop as the clock struck 11.00 a.m. to remember the sacrifice of so many brave Australians. I vividly remember the suddenness of that, and it has made a deep impression on me. More than 416, 000 Australians volunteered for service in World War I, from a population of five million, and of these 324,000 served overseas. Our thoughts go to the 60,000 men killed and the further 156,000 who were wounded, gassed or taken prisoner. We commemorate these brave soldiers. Their stories are told through photographs, medals and letters brought back to families and loved ones. We owe a debt of gratitude to the Australian War Memorial and to our war historians who have researched the facts and revealed the experiences of our soldiers. These stories are a source of courage, inspiration and support; they have helped to shape our national identity.

Wearing a red poppy, the flower of remembrance, allows us to stop and reflect on its significance to our nation and to freedoms we enjoy, which are sometimes taken for granted. Indeed, when we wear a red poppy on Remembrance Day we hold in our hearts all those who died or suffered for Australia's cause in all wars and armed conflicts. Australia has deep admiration, respect and affection for our veterans, and this is evidenced by the ever growing attendance at remembrance ceremonies and also on Anzac Day each year. The sacrifice of so many Australians has allowed me to grow up in a country that is free and to able to run and be elected to Parliament as a woman, which so many others throughout the world cannot do. I also acknowledge all the volunteers who provide support to veterans. I honour our service men and women and thank them for what they have given, and continue to give, to our country. Lest we forget.

The Hon. Natasha Maclaren-Jones

Distinguished guests for the 2016 Service were The Hon. Natasha Maclaren-Jones, MLC and Government Whip,  Jason Falinski MP, Federal Member for Mackellar, Inspector Joanne Comber NSW Police,  Commander Ian Campbell, CO of HMAS Penguin, Commander Chris Hunt HMAS Watson,  Lt. Col. Matt Stevens, CO of First Commando Regiment, all three gentlemen also are Avalon Beach sub-Branch members, Ian Bowsher, Principal of Barrenjoey High School, and Mark Houlder, President of Avalon Beach RSL Club Directors.

The Catafalque Party was formed by 305 Squadron Australian Air Force Cadets. The Colour Party from the Avalon Beach RSL sub-Branch. The Hymns, Eternal Father Strong to Save and Abide With Me were led by the Avalon Voices.

The Prayer for the Fallen was read by Bob Lacy, Vice President of Avalon Beach RSL sub-Branch. The Prayer for the Services was read by Tamara Sloper Harding, Vice President of Avalon Beach RSL sub-Branch.

1. From The Passing of Arthur , “Idylls of the King