PRIME MINISTER: More than a century ago on the bloody battlefields of Pozières, a seriously wounded solider grappling with the end of his young life asked this; ‘Will they remember me in Australia?’

Today we come together to answer that question once again and say in the stillness before the dawn; ‘ Yes, we remember’. Australia always has and Australia always will. We remember the 102,000 lives laid down for us, giving their tomorrows, for our today.

We remember the hundreds of thousands and more wounded in body and in soul. We remember all who have worn and still wear that uniform, whether here at Lavarack in Townsville or right across the globe.

We remember the families who have carried and continue to carry the burdens of service, of loss and of war. Last year we marked the centenary of the end of the Great War, the Armistice of 1918. So this year as the Mayor has rightly reflected, our thoughts turn to the wake of war and what comes after. Yes the joy of homecoming but also the reckoning of loss. What is it like for those who have returned, numbed by carnage that cannot be unseen? What is it like for those whose war did not end with the declaration of peace? What is it like for the families whose loved ones now lay at rest on the other side of the world, how do they go on?

My grandfather returned from World War Two. Growing up Pop spoke little, if anything of his service in the Second World War, like so many of his generation. But my Grandmother Mardi would tell me, he would wake in the middle of the night. I would ask Pop during our walks together when I was young, but these were not stories he wanted an innocent boy to know, let alone ever experience. His service was one of duty, not adventure. Anzac Day was part of the calendar of his life. He would meet with his mates, march quietly at the beachside parade. His reflections of the war were personal and private and he carried them with him every day.

It was Brigadier Jason Blain, an Afghanistan veteran, who said, ‘I don't think you ever come home without leaving a part of yourself still there.’

Few remain now of my grandfather's generation. The ones who fought with the Allies at Tobruk and Kodaka, in the skies above Europe, who suffered in the POW camps and who defended us in hostile waters nearer to home. But their successors walk amongst us. The veterans of Korea, Vietnam, the first Iraq War, our peacekeepers and a new generation of veterans, Iraq again, and our longest war, Afghanistan.

Today, we remember soldiers like Private Benjamin Ranaudo, who served as part of the First Battalion based here in Townsville. He was 22 years of age when he fell in Afghanistan, struck by an IED while on a mission to disrupt a bomb-making operation north of Tarin Kowt. His mother, Jennifer, has told us, and said of Benjamin; ‘He wanted to join the army as soon as he could. He loved it,’ she said. ‘He sort of had two families. He had us, when he came home and he had his family to go home to in Townsville, the 1RAR boys. They were his family as well.

You know, whether it be in Afghanistan, or in generations before, the story of Australia's sacrifice in war is also the story of the quiet and deep and personal struggles of the families left behind. I met Bree Till 10 years ago. Her husband of less than a year, Sergeant Brett Till, was also killed. He was part of the incident response regiment, he was just 31, in Afghanistan.

Brett and Bree had lived together in our community, with Brett's young children. They were expecting their first child when Brett was killed. To be carrying a child with all your hopes and to be experiencing the worst possible grief, required unimaginable strength. And that is the strength that has sustained Bree and her family to this day. Brett and Bree's boy, Ziggy, is doing just great.

So, our heroes don't just belong to the past, they live with us today. The men and women of our ADF come from every part of our continent. And with their service, a new generation of families who know the cost of war and sacrifice, support them. They are a generation who also deserve to be remembered and honoured here today. They serve across the world in Iraq, in Afghanistan, Israel, Lebanon, the Philippines, protecting our people, our interests, our values. An the seas beyond our shores, protecting our borders as well.

The call of the original Anzacs echoes on their chests today. And so on this day, we honour the past and the present. We remember the fallen, but we remember those who remain. Veterans learning to live with the scars, the absences, memories only their ADF mates will understand. Families whose loved ones died on battlefields, kids growing up without their parents, with only the photos, only the stories. And the women and men who serve today here in this great city of Townsville, throughout Australia and elsewhere in the world.

So, we remember, we are grateful. And in the words of the poet Dame Mary Gilmore - and she wouldn't mind me updating it; ‘This is the day of men greater and women greater than kings and queens. For them, the drums of time shall ever beat. And at their tomb, death stands with fallen wings. They shall not know decay, for down the years the bugle shall declare their full renown.

Though in the eyes of grief may brim the tears, above grief stands a pride tears cannot drown. But sometimes, waking in the night, his mother will remember only the little lad she nursed, and then how empty all the house, how lonely. Hail and farewell, O gallant young VC. The Anzac echoes answer bound to bound. Then for all love and lost, O memory, let your revelry never cease to sound. We answer that question, asked in Pozières so long ago, again, by affirming this Anzac Day.’

Lest we forget.