TRANSCRIPT: INTERVIEW WITH DANIELLE ISDALE, TEN LATE NEWS
TRANSCRIPTION: PROOF COPY E & OE
DATE: 25 APRIL 2013
TOPICS: Anzac Day
DANIELLE ISDALE: Defence Minister Stephen Smith, thank you for joining us on Ten Late.
STEPHEN SMITH: Pleasure.
DANIELLE ISDALE: Of all the places you could be for a Dawn service, why did you choose Hellfire Pass this time?
STEPHEN SMITH: Well for two reasons: it's the 70th Anniversary of the start of the cutting so it’s significant historically. I have never been here before and I really wanted to come, like many people I’ve met this morning. It was a fantastic service. Meeting some of the old POWs was awe inspiring. They are such great people.
DANIELLE ISDALE: Is it an event Australians know enough about, the building of the Thai-Burma railway, and how many Australians lost their lives?
STEPHEN SMITH: No, it's not and that's an associated reason I came. The more we all know about our shared history the more that we can draw that to the attention to our nation generally but also to young Australians.
DANIELLE ISDALE: What actually strikes you about the guys here, talking about what they went through and being able to share it all these years later?
STEPHEN SMITH: I think one of the – and we find this with conflicts throughout all of Australia's history, when people return from conflict generally they don't talk about it. So I’ve spoken to family members today who said we learnt more about grandad or what dad did since we’ve been on the tour with him. I think trying to get oral histories from our surviving veterans and POWs is also important.
DANIELLE ISDALE: As Defence Minister you make decisions—we have soldiers serving abroad at the moment—that affect people going and fighting. What do you think about in a Dawn Service in the minute's silence as Stephen Smith the person, not the politican?
STEPHEN SMITH: What I think about is you can never get away from the tragedy of war or the harm it does to people, both physically or mentally. It's always easy to get into conflict and always hard to get out. When you step back and look there's always tragedy that has befallen people as a result of engaging in conflict.
DANIELLE ISDALE: Stephen Smith, thank you very much for your time.
STEPHEN SMITH: Thank you.