ADDRESS ON THE OCCASION OF THE 67TH ANNIVERSARY OF AUSTRALIAN PEACEKEEPING
BY LIEUTENANT GENERAL JOHN SANDERSON, AC (RETD)
UNITED NATIONS PEACEKEEPING MEMORIAL SITE
15 SEP 2014
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, fellow peacekeepers and peace builders
Let me add my welcome to this 67th Anniversary service to commemorate the involvement and sacrifice of Australians in the service of world peace over the years since 1947. This month of September in that year of 1947 was also the time at which the Australian Regular Army was raised by legislation - after the Second World War and the signing of the United Nations Charter in 1945. The beginning of Australian peacekeeping and the beginning of the Australian Regular Army are therefore synonymous events.
Few people make this connection between our nation’s hope for a better and more peaceful world and these two historic outcomes of World War Two – the international commitment to the UN Charter and the raising for the first time of a regular army in Australia. The Australian Armed Services have been involved in many conflicts since 1947 but the one constant that has brought them together with the nation’s police forces and engaged civilians over that time has been peacekeeping and peace building.
Almost instantly, of course, Australian military observers were engaged in the field helping as observers under the UN banner to resolve the problems of a global paradigm shift in the emerging post colonial era – UN peacekeeping emerged from this. At the same time Regular Army, Navy and Air Force units became engaged in a UN enforcement operation in Korea, helping to stabilize a conflict that could have rolled into World War Three. This was not peacekeeping, although an unstable truce emerged from this stalemate.