Clem Not The Only Anzac Rebel
It seems Clem Simich was not the only one to make a political speech to an Anzac Day audience yesterday. When addressing a crowd of veterans, service personel and citizens at Takapuna's Anzac day civic wreath-laying ceremony yesterday, Takapuna R.S.A. Vice President Michael Murphy slamed the present administration's defence policy and described the opposition's proposal for a veterans' gold health card as "a cynical ploy to buy votes."
Mr. Murphy who is also Libertarianz veterans affairs spokesman went on to briefly outline what would be an appropriate defence stratagy for New Zealand. Mr. Murphy's speech was warmly applauded by the crowd of over one thousand.
(Mr Murphy's speech can be found below.)
Speech delivered to Takapuna RSA Anzac Day ceremony, 2002 Michael Murphy, Takapuna RSA Vice President, and Libertarianz spokesman on Defence and Veterans Affairs
Mr. Chairman, distinguished guests, fellow members of the R.S.A. citizens and young people of Takapuna. I am honoured to address you today - this the 87th anniversary of the landings at Gallipoli.
This is the day we remember all who died in the defence of freedom - on land - at sea - in the air, and those survivors of conflicts who have passed on. This is the day we thank all who have served; this is the one day of the year we are truly united as a Nation.
Was the Gallipoli campaign a victory - no! The Gallipoli campaign was a disaster - in the nine months there were over 250,000 allied causalities - of those 7,500 were New Zealanders. The Turkish causalities totalled nearly 300,000. But this pales into insignificance when compared to the disasters that where to follow on the Somme and at Passchendaele.
It was however, the first major action involving New Zealand & Australian troops in what was to be known as the Great War, and latterly as World War One. It could also be seen as a step towards nationhood, a step - beginning with various Defence Acts from 1907 onwards - that became part of the first legislation of the new Dominion of New Zealand.
This legislation provided for the establishment of a territorial force, naval reserve and provided for the purchase of the battle cruiser H.M.S. New Zealand at a cost 1,706,000 pounds. Parliament then recognised that the first duty of government is the defence of the realm, a duty sadly neglected today.
I must add that even then there was the cry "we can’t afford it"
Expenditure on defence it is one of the necessities of nationhood. Like fire insurance on our homes, we can’t afford to be without it. Some would say the only functions of government are defence and justice: defence - to protect us from external aggression; justice - to protect us from each other - both sadly neglected by politicians who today see few votes in defence and are more interested in dispensing largesse. Such a one is the cynical proposal by one political party for Veterans' Gold health card (now said to be matched by another political party). Sixty years too late.
In their defence planning, the present administration seems to have overlooked the fact that we are an island nation. Our defence should have a maritime orientation. History has shown that it is easier to defeat an army whilst embarked at sea, than when deployed on land. Combine this with the fact that aircraft have been the decisive weapons in all major naval battles after World War 1, and it becomes obvious that the best defence against amphibious invasion is a well-equipped air force. This must include a strike element in addition to surveillance aircraft, and be backed up with well-equipped modern ships - ships large enough to handle New Zealand sea conditions and to operate Sea Sprite helicopters. Only then, should we have a well-equipped and properly trained Army.
In conclusion I am hopeful that today’s parade will be the last before the well known and loved plywood cenotaph. I hope that we shall also have tidied up the mistakes and omissions of the past: Today is also the 87th. Anniversary of the death of Frederick Hugh Dodson, Lieutenant, 6th. Hauraki Regiment, buried at Lone Pine, Gallipoli - he has a street in Milford named after him, but his name was left off the old memorial. Let's hope we get it right this time.