Oct 11, 2005

Member’s 3 Minutes Statements: Mr Sabin Zahirovic, 3 Transport Association

Member’s 3 Minute Statements – Mr Sabin Zahirovic, 3 Transport Association

11 October 2005

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (4.24 pm)—It was my privilege to be at West Leagues Club some months ago for a school based community function. There I met and heard speak Mr Sabin Zahirovic. He is the school captain of Ashfield Boys High School. I think Mr Zahirovic represents the best of people who have come from underprivileged backgrounds in other countries to Australia. Mr Zahirovic came from war-torn Bosnia to make Australia his home. I have a copy of a letter that Mr Zahirovic wrote to Mr Gary C Smith and members of the 3 Transport Association about Anzac Day of this year. I want to read some of it into Hansard:

Following my nomination to be the bearer of the 3 Transport Association banner, I have come to the realisation of the gravity and the honour and pride this opportunity has invigorated in me. To be part of the Anzac Day procession was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for someone like myself. I cannot emphasise the gratitude that I feel towards you personally, the RSL and members of 3 Transport Association.

My family, peers and teachers are extremely proud, and rightly so. It is an immeasurable honour for a young person to be associated with such an integral part of Australia’s history and identity. As a survivor of the war, genocide and ethnic cleansing in my birth country of Bosnia I recognise more than most people the value of Defence Force Personnel.

I also empathise with those who have lost loved ones in war, as one life is an immense loss for the nation as a whole.

That is why I recognise that it is a necessity to allow the ANZAC legacy to continue transcending the generations who are yet to come. The privilege of carrying your banner in the ANZAC Day March is one way which you have cemented this process of remembrance.

As I have said to Mr John Walsh, it is a true honour to be associated with such a dignified organisation and part of the Australian identity. It is important to continue the strong ties between the school body and the military history and association of the area. That is why I will do everything possible to inform others of the school’s affiliation with 3 Transport Association, the Coo-ee Marchers and other military contingents over the last century.

This is the best of the Australian story. Here is a young man who was born overseas, who has gone through war himself and who has come into this country and, within a very short period of time, identified with the Anzac legacy, with the contribution that past generations of Australians have made to secure freedom and the lifestyle that we in Australia are so dearly proud of. I wish Mr Zahirovic well and hope that I have done my bit today to publicise the connection between Ashfield Boys High School and the 3 Transport Association in accordance with his wishes.