Mr MELHEM (Western Metropolitan) — On Friday a week ago I represented the Premier and the Minister for Veterans at the annual Sir John Monash commemorative service, which was held at Parliament House. The President was also at the function. The service was conducted by the Spirit of Australia Foundation, which was established in 2005 to remember and commemorate Australia’s heritage.

It was an honour to lay a wreath during the service to celebrate and pay respect to the legacy and achievements of a man who, through expert battle tactics, skilful planning and attention to detail, played a decisive role in breaking the stalemate on the Western Front during World War I.

From 8 August to 11 November 1918 Sir John Monash’s soldiers in the Australian army corps helped to defeat 39 German divisions. Sir John led the Australian Imperial Force’s 4th Brigade at Gallipoli and is remembered as the architect of the Allied victory in the Battle of Hamel in 1918 — a battle which he said would be over in 90 minutes but in fact took 93 minutes.

Monash’s contribution to the Allied war effort was such that King George V visited France in August and knighted Monash in the field. Therefore World War I, besides having been an extremely violent and damaging war, allowed Australians to demonstrate to the world their courage in battle and love for their country and people. Sir John Monash was, by all accounts, a hero. He lives on as a proud figure in Australian and Victorian history.

On behalf of the Victorian government it was a pleasure to celebrate the life of Sir John Monash and to recognise his commitment and contribution to Victoria and our nation.

22 August 2017