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Support for MvM memorial but challenges ahead

Beazley & I meet Vets Minister in Canberra today

Kim Beazley and I will meet Veterans’ Affairs Minister Alan Griffin in Canberra this afternoon to discuss whether the federal government is prepared to take steps for greater recognition of the tragedy of the fall of Rabaul and the subsequent sinking of the Montevideo Maru.

We will be discussing a submission which asks the government to agree to three main proposals:

(1) To construct a memorial, inscribed with the names of the dead, in Canberra to commemorate the sacrifice of those who died defending Rabaul and the islands.

(2) To initiate action to have the site of the sinking of the Montevideo Maru declared an official war grave.

(3) To appoint an official group including Friends of Montevideo Maru to develop strategies to ensure that the fall of Rabaul and the sinking of the Montevideo Maru remain an enduring part of Australia’s history.

The Ministerial discussion will be Mr Beazley’s last official act on behalf of the Montevideo Maru Memorial Committee before he takes up his role as Australia’s Ambassador to the United States in February.

After receiving the submission, Mr Griffin said he looked forward to meeting with Kim Beazley and me to discuss it.

Readers may recall Mr Griffin’s landmark speech in parliament last June which - while largely unreported in the media - paid tribute to the men who died on the Montevideo Maru and to their families, and asked Australians to remember the tragedy.

It was one of the most significant speeches to be made in parliament on this matter and indicated Mr Griffin’s understanding of the issues, something that has rarely been the case with previous ministers.

I hope this bodes well for the future of the submission.

Read the submission to the federal government here.


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Chris Diercke

Morning squire - All the best with your meeting. In its short time the Committee has achieved miracles, methinks. Here's hoping we can attain more.

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