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Australian Army 101 Years Old Today

The Australian Army is 101 years old today. The national Army was formed on March 1, 1901, although there were colonial militias fighting in the Anglo Boer War in South Africa at the moment of Federation on January 1, 1901.

ArmyA series of church services and other ceremonies are being conducted around the country to mark the occasion today. A statement from the Minister for Defence, Senator Robert Hill, says that since 1901 “Australian soldiers have served in military campaigns during World Wars One and Two, Korea, Malaya, Borneo, Vietnam and in the Gulf.”

The statement goes on: “Today, Australian soldiers serve in peacekeeping, peace monitoring and military assistance operations around the world, including countries such as Sierra Leone, Bosnia, Bougainville, Ethiopia, Eritrea and East Timor. Australian Soldiers are at the forefront of Australia’s contribution to the coalition against terrorism.”

The celebrations come at a time when the Defence Forces have been undergoing intense scrutiny over their role in the “children overboard” affair that has bedevilled the Howard government over the past couple of weeks.

It has been alleged that the Defence Force has been politicised by the government and used as an instrument of its political propaganda during last year’s election campaign.

In his statement, Senator Hill says: “It is a time for all Australians to feel proud of what their Army has achieved in peace and war and to reflect on the sacrifices made by those that have gone before.”

“The spirit of the Digger lives on within the soldiers of today’s Army. We are all very proud to carry on the tradition and values of the Digger that has been earned on battlefields around the world,” Senator Hill said.

“The Army continues to serve the nation with pride and distinction at home and around the world,” Senator Hill said.

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