After last year’s cancelled Remembrance Day services, the decision to cancel Melbourne’s ANZAC Day march due to the current outbreak from hotel quarantine is disappointing.
I am somewhat surprised that this decision has been made 10 weeks out from ANZAC Day. I know my colleague the Shadow Minister for Veteran affairs Tim Bull will seek more information on why this call had to be made so early.
However, I hope common sense prevails and that the current circumstances in late April – not in mid-February – are the first consideration in any restrictions imposed on the day’s commemorative services.
Of course, we have to monitor the coronavirus situation and public health must come first, but last year we saw Remembrance Day services cancelled in communities that had no cases and were well prepared to implement the required guidelines.
Every year on April 25, the anniversary of the Gallipoli landing, we take time to remember those who fought and made the ultimate sacrifice in all theatres of war.
With international travel restrictions still preventing Australians making the pilgrimage to Turkey, local services hold even more significance.
We must take every precaution to keep Victorians safe, particularly those who are most vulnerable – including our veterans – but restrictions must be realistic and logical.
With the outbreak currently contained to Melbourne, there is no case at this stage for blanket statewide cancellations.
Our communities are facing difficult times at present.
In the situation we are facing, it is perhaps more pertinent that ever to ensure Victorians have an opportunity to come together, where safe, to remember the brave men and women who served, the challenges they faced and hardships they endured.