Visit to France for ANZAC Day

23 Apr 2019 Media release

Minister for Defence, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, will visit France from 23-26 April to represent the Government of Australia at the Anzac Day commemorative services at Villers-Bretonneux and Bullecourt.

“Anzac Day is our opportunity to acknowledge the service and sacrifice of the women and men of the Australian Defence Force,” Minister Pyne said.

“It is also a time to learn their stories and to understand more about what they did and endured, and how they contributed to defending our nation and our way of life.”

The battle of Villers-Bretonneux is a significant piece of Australia’s military history demonstrating the courage, professionalism and capability of the Australian Imperial Force in World War I.

Villers-Bretonneux was liberated by the Australian 13th and 15th Brigades, with assistance from British forces, after entering the strategically important village at dawn on 25 April 1918, three years to the day after Anzac landings at Gallipoli.

Bullecourt saw some of the most intense fighting for the Australian Imperial Force on the Western Front with 10,000 killed in battles on 11 April and 3 May 1917.

In a sign of the regard Australia is held in France, the Villers-Bretonneux Dawn Service and Town Service will be attended by Minister Pyne’s counterpart, Madame Florence Party, Minister for Armed Services.

Australia and France share a longstanding and close defence relationship, with a shared commitment to addressing global security concerns including with the US-led international coalition efforts to counter Daesh.

The Australia-France Initiative (AFiniti), signed in 2018, is the framework for our cooperation in Indo-Pacific defence; Antarctic and the Southern Ocean; security, cyber and intelligence, and science and technology.

“Australia’s $50 billion Attack class submarine program is the key cooperation activity in our industrial relationship,” said Minister Pyne.

“Our partnership was further enhanced this year with the signing of the Strategic Partnering Agreement in February and the Submarine Design Contract in March.”