Antipodean visitors to be limited by ballot to 10,000 at Gallipoli 100th
Almost 100 years on from the Gallipoli landings, Turkey is bracing for a fresh invasion of Australians and New Zealanders at Anzac Cove on April 25, 2015.
In a bid to control the impact, Australian and New Zealand are proposing a 10,000 limit with a ballot for those wishing to attend this historic event.
Veterans Affairs Minister Warren Snowdon said that figure would be finalised later this year after consultations with Turkish authorities.
Mr Snowdon said Australia and New Zealand had agreed to an allocation of 8000 places for Australians and 2000 to New Zealanders.
“But what we want to do is go out and consult with others in the community to talk abut how a ballot might actually work,” he told reporters in Sydney.
Mr Snowdon said direct descendants of Anzacs should get priority access, but there were an estimated one million of them.
There are many others who might also want to go including service personnel, young Australians, school groups and tour groups, he said.
The minister said the consultation process would be conducted through to the end of the year.
“Obviously there will be disappointments through this process because … I don’t think we are going to be able to provide for everyone who wants to attend,” he said.
“We want to make sure that whatever we do is fair and transparent and that there is no capacity for people to rort the system. We don’t want scalpers.”
In recent years, the numbers of travellers, mostly Australian and New Zealanders, who attend the dawn service at Gallipoli is around 10,000 each year but as many as 15,000 have attended.
Defence force chief General David Hurley said the government faced a difficult job in deciding who should go.
But personally, General Hurley said he would prefer Gallipoli be very quiet on the 100th anniversary.
“You are not going to please everybody and perhaps the greatest recognition to the soldiers that died on the day is just leave it as it was when that happened,” he said. – AAP