Anzac Day 2023: Veterans’ Affairs Minister Matt Keogh says there’s more to do to look after returning veterans

Andrew Brown and Maeve BannisterAAP
VideoAnzac Day 2023: Australians pause to remember fallen diggers at services around the world

Veterans’ Affairs Minister Matt Keogh says there is more to do in making sure defence personnel are looked after following their return home.

As Australians mark Anzac Day, Mr Keogh said the country had an important duty to care for service men and women.

“We have a responsibility to look after our veterans, whether they’ve served overseas, whether they’ve come with injury or mental illness from that or served in Australia,” he told ABC Radio on Tuesday.

“We’re doing everything we can (to look after them) but there’s absolutely more to do, and I acknowledge that.”

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Mr Keogh, who is representing Australia at the Gallipoli dawn service, said attendance is set to be the largest since centenary commemorations in 2015.

“There’s an element of people who were very interested to be able come over the last few years and haven’t been able to attend,” he said.

“What we really see is that people have seen the service that’s been rendered by our defence force personnel not just way back in World War I, but all the way through to recent conflicts.”

The minister said the large numbers seen not just in Gallipoli but at dawn services and commemorations across Australia reflect the recognition of service by broad sections of the community.

“What we’ve really seen Anzac Day become is not just about one conflict, it’s now a day where we commemorate not just those that died but all those people that have served in our uniform on our behalf in conflict,” he said.

Defence Minister Richard Marles said Anzac Day was also a time to reflect on the 1200 Australians currently on military deployment.

On a recent trip to England, Mr Marles met with Australian defence personnel training Ukrainian troops to defend their country from Russia’s invasion.

“To see people putting on the uniform of their nation, knowing full well that this might be a moment of personal and ultimate sacrifice is an extremely poignant and very inspiring thing to see,” he told 2GB.

“The Australians who are training them are doing incredible work ... (today) is a moment where we remember them and all of those who have served, particularly those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.”

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