Fearless sons and daughters of Anzacs

Veterans marching in the Anzac Day parade, Gunning NSW, 25 April 2024

This year I was asked to deliver the address for the ANZAC Day Memorial Service in my hometown of Gunning, NSW. It caused me to reflect on the military from the time of my grandfathers to my own time and beyond. I was inspired to amend Johnson after an event I witnessed.

When I watched our catafalque party rehearsing this week, commanded by a female corporal in the Royal Australian Armoured Corps, I realised the military I served in was very different from the military of today. There were no female Arms Corps soldiers in my day. But that doesn't mean that women are not good soldiers or that whosoever serves in the military is not a part of the ANZAC tradition. So this address, which also appeared as the lead article for The Spectator Australia this ANZAC Day, was cause for considerable reflection.

For example, the concept of transgender didn't even exist, but transgender soldiers serve in our military. If we measure people on their character, then I cannot justify reimagining the Australian Defence Force in my own image. Nor would I be so arrogant to do so. 

It's a very different military from the one I served in. But there were many women I served with whom I trusted with my life. While I do prefer Johnson's original, too, I don't think it holds true anymore. I also had to acknowledge that our military reflects our society, and it is a good thing when a military is representative of the society it serves.

Below is my ANZAC Day address which was also the lead article in The Spectator Australia today, Fearless sons and daughters of Anzacs. It is rather a reflective piece as it gave me pause to reconsider the nexus of identity politics and the common good. While I do not condone identity politics, if people serve both their purpose and the common good, then who am I to judge?