The Prime Minister announced the formation of the commission to consider how to commemorate the centenary of Anzac. Among other things, he said:
For Australia, our identity has been etched deeply by what we call ANZAC. For nearly a century, in fact for most of our federated history, ANZAC has occupied a sacred place not far from the nation’s soul. It shapes deeply our nation’s memory. It shapes deeply how we see the world. A hundred years later, it shapes too what we do in the world.
Neither religious nor secular, whatever our beliefs are, ANZAC is profoundly spiritual – inspiring pilgrimages still to that far-off place where our modern-day pilgrims drink deep from the well of national memory. So what is this legend that we call ANZAC? How has it shaped our nation’s life? How does it offer quiet counsel and gentle direction as we seek to chart our future? And how do we best nurture its flame for another century as we approach the first centenary of the ANZAC landings? I believe each generation of Australians has a duty to pass this torch to the next.