Under 16′s ANZAC Day Reception

(12.15pm, Friday 25 April 2014, Sydney Town Hall)

Thank you, [MC], and welcome, everyone, to our Anzac Day gathering.

I'm pleased to see you and your families back here at Town Hall today - especially in this lead-up to next year's centenary of Anzac.

And a special welcome, of course, to John Miller, the Founder of the Under 16's, and to Jennifer Ballard your Patron and to Maayken Griffiths Marsh, widow of Roland Griffiths Marsh, author of I was only Sixteen. I am told Jennifer and Maayken happily spend many hours keeping in touch with you all and are so committed to recording your amazing stories.

And amazing they truly were - and are. It was not only your actions during the war that were so remarkable, but your courage and tenacity in forging ahead with your lives post-war.

Sometimes, being a survivor can be relentlessly hard and painful work, and I am sure that for many of you, perhaps only your families can know how painful it has been. Your families and your mates here today.

That you have not only done that, but turned your experiences to positive ends through your "Respect and Responsibility" program speaks volumes for the kind of men you are, with the sort of courage that lasts beyond the heat of battle and into the daily demands of living honourably and well.

It is this quality, perhaps, that so inspires the young people who are exposed to your program and to the DVD which is going to schools around Australia. It is designed to prevent bullying and other anti-social behaviour and to promote the qualities of respect, of decency and mateship.

I think I should also pay tribute to your wives and families who have shared the legacy of your past and continue to support you, watch over you, and take pride in you. I would also like to acknowledge the families here today of those Under 16s who are no longer with us who are here with us.

Today we join all the families in honouring the Under 16's courage and your commitment.

And now, we look forward to hearing your own stories first hand.

Thank you for being here, and please enjoy today with your families and friends.

I would like to introduce Maayken Griffiths Marsh to speak and introduce the Under 16's. Maayken's late husband was one of Australia's longest serving soldiers using his older brother's name and date of birth to enlist with the Second Australian Imperial Force.

Some of the men are then going to introduce themselves and speak briefly…