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Launch of the Mustafa Kemal Ataturk Memorial Bursary, Government House


I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, the Ngunnawal People, and pay my respects to their elders, past and present, emerging leaders and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders gathered here today.

Good evening, all. Linda and I are delighted to be here and delighted to be part of another important milestone for the Gallipoli Scholarship Fund.

We are a little over a month out from Anzac Day. Our nation will pause, as we do every year, to reflect and honour those who have served.

Ask almost any Australian – young or old, in uniform or civilian, those whose families have been here for generations or our newest Australians – what is significant about the 25th April and they will be able to give you an answer. Incidentally, far fewer, I suspect, would know that today – 18 March – is an important part of the Anzac story. The day the British Admiralty admitted the fleet had failed to force the Dardanelles. A defeat that led to the Gallipoli campaign and all that followed.

It is important, though, to remember that Anzac Day is about more than remembering dates or recalling long-past battles. It is a point-in-time where we, as a nation:

  • acknowledge those who have served, and especially those who have died or been injured fighting for Australia
  • reflect on how that service and sacrifice has contributed to what and who we are as a nation today – that is, to understand its impact
  • understand what our response should be to that legacy.

The Gallipoli Scholarship Foundation has a very similar purpose. It seeks to perpetuate among young Australians an understanding of the Anzac legacy and of the characteristics which we now prescribe to it: endurance, courage, sacrifice and mateship. In essence, these characteristics say that we are a people who are strong, look out for each other, and are prepared to put others before self.

Today’s launch is an example of the application of that legacy to our modern world. A new bursary, made possible by the generosity of two Australians of Turkish descent, to support a young person from the Australian-Turkish community to undertake further study. A terrific, modern example of mateship, of supporting others and offering a hand-up to create an opportunity or overcome a challenge. The very epitome of the Anzac legacy.

I dare say that, in the heat of any battle, few participants are able to envisage a future where deadly foes would, in generations to come, become friends, family and partners. We know, though, that there was at least one who could: Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Just as we seek to learn from and apply the Anzac legacy, Ataturk took his experiences from the battlefields of Gallipoli and applied them as he shaped modern Turkey. He was a remarkable, visionary leader whose name on this bursary should inspire recipients. His honour and values and his commitment to his nation shaped generations that followed. Like the Anzac legacy, those values are also reflected in the Mustafa Kemal Atatürk Memorial Bursary.

Finally, it is fitting that we launch this bursary in Harmony Week – an opportunity to celebrate our diversity and recognise that our different backgrounds, cultures and experiences combine to make us the country we are. 

Ladies and gentlemen, to Omer [Mr Omer Incekara, Chair, Ataturk Scholarship] and Oz [Mr Ozan Girgin, CEO, Promax Constructions] – thank you. Your initiative and support for this bursary is a wonderful contribution to our community. To all involved with the Gallipoli Scholarship Foundation – thank you for what you do for young Australians.

We are a good country; a good people. You are all examples of that richness of spirit and goodness.