Our Max says G’day again, cobber!’ to Aussie PM

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Visiting Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard reconnected with an Arrowtown Korean War veteran in Queenstown last Saturday. 

Max McDermid, 84, was in a line-up of war vets greeting Gillard and New Zealand PM John Key as they laid wreaths at the lakeside Memorial Gates. 

The PMs were in town for annual bilateral talks. 

McDermid says he reminded Gillard they’d met at an Anzac Day service in Seoul, Korea, attended by Australian and NZ war veterans two years earlier. 

McDermid says Gillard had broken from the Australian contingent in Seoul to speak to the Kiwis – and he recalls engaging her in a bit of banter about the then-upcoming Royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in London. 

“I touched her on the arm and said, “Are you going to the wedding?’ She said, ‘Of course I’m going to the wedding, what do you want, Kiwi?’” 

“I said, ‘Well, if you see John Key over there, tell him he should have been here’.” 

McDemid says he and Gillard also recalled a service they’d attended a day earlier to commemorate the 1951 Battle of Kapyong in which Australian and NZ soldiers defended Seoul against invading Chinese forces. 

Gillard, who also visited Arrowtown, flew out from Queenstown after her three-day visit on Sunday morning.