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‘We should remember our victories at least as much as our defeats’, says former PM

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his predecessor Tony Abbott will lead the commemorations at Villers-Bretonneux, honouring Australian soldiers who liberated the small French town.

The former PM was also behind the drive to have the Sir John Monash Centre completed in time for the centenary of the Battle of Villers-Bretonneux.

He tells Chris Smith it’s been a “stunning” experience.

“Yet when you think what happen a 100 years ago today here, thinking of the thousands of Australians who were swarming over this battlefield, exultant in victory but I suppose mourning the comrades that didn’t make it though, then it starts to become comprehensible.”

Mr Abbott also says the significance of the battle is often overlooked.

“The great work of the Australian Imperial Force was not at Gallipoli, which was a heroic failure, it was here on the Western Front, which in the end, terrible though it was, was a magnificent success.

“I think we should remember our victories at least as much as our defeats. ”

“While the French were fighting for their homeland, we were in a sense fighting for an ideal, an ideal of freedom, of justice, and of decency and the fundamental principle and that might is not right.

“That it is justice which should prevail.”

Listen to the full interview below

See more of Chris’ trip here.