Launch Of ‘Almost Anzac Day’

Prime Minister

I begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the land on which we meet, and I pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging.

It is a special honour to join with you all here at the Anzac Memorial. For very nearly 90 years this has been the scene for many acts of memory, both powerful and poignant.

Today, with James Blundell’s new song Almost Anzac Day, we are adding one more. And what a fitting time to launch it.

In a fortnight, we will gather in the darkness before dawn because those first Anzacs did.

This year on Anzac Day I will be in Isurava on the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea taking the opportunity to show my respect to the remarkable effort to protect our nation at one of its darkest hours.

We will gather in the peace that is the gift to us from generations of Australians who have taken up arms in our name.

We will gather to remember all who have served and all who serve now.

We will remember all who lost their lives. All who survived and came home.

And all who came home, but carried the war within them. It is a fight that so often lingers after the final gunshot. Tragically, it is a fight that is not always won.

As James sings:

We came back in pieces, no one of us the same

Just as they stepped up for us, we must step up for them. And that’s exactly what this song is doing, with all royalties going to vets via the not-for-profit SMEAC Veteran Hub.

This song is also an important addition to an Anzac tradition. Just as we remember our fallen and our veterans in silence, we also remember them with music.

The solemn lament on the pipes. The majestic simplicity of the Last Post on the bugle.

And the great heartbeat of music in every Anzac Day march in every town and city across Australia.

Music is a crucial part of our Anzac observance because sometimes words alone aren’t enough to tell the truth about war, about what war means and the toll it extracts.

To find the words that convey all of that can be a hard task, but when they are found, they can be lifted higher with music.

This is a tradition to which James Blundell has now added his distinctive voice.

With lyrics by Terry McArthur and music by Mika Kuokkanen, this song is a powerful expression of humanity.

It is an expression of empathy.

It is an expression of gratitude.

Perhaps most importantly, it now becomes part of our shared refusal to forget.

How brightly the eternal flame of memory burns depends on how carefully we tend it.

With Almost Anzac Day, James Blundell makes that flame rise higher and cast its glow even further.

I’d like to invite James to the stage to do just that.

/Public Release. View in full here.