Gallipoli ballot to open in November

11:08am May 13, 2013

The federal government has unveiled details of an attendance ballot for ANZAC centenary events at Gallipoli in 2015.

Places will be available for surviving widows of Gallipoli veterans, their descendants and Australian and New Zealand citizens.

Attendance at key events - the dawn service, the later Australian service at Lone Pine and the NZ service at Chunuk Bair - has been fixed at 10,500.

That's about double the number who attended commemoration events on Gallipoli this year.

Registration for the ballot will open in November and close at the end of January 2014.

Successful applicants will be notified in March.

Veterans Affairs Minister Warren Snowdon said Australia, New Zealand and Turkey had agreed the site could only take 10,500 people.

Under the proposed ballot, 8000 of those places had been allocated to Australia, 2000 to New Zealand and 500 for officials.

There are no living Gallipoli veterans. However, there are about 200 widows of World War I veterans, women who married much older men.

Any widows of Gallipoli veterans willing and able to attend the centenary will be given top priority.

They will be included within the 500 officials and their travel costs paid by the Commonwealth.

Direct descendants of Gallipoli veterans will receive 400 double passes, while current veterans will receive 400 passes and school students and chaperones will receive 400 places.

"We propose to ballot the rest to the broader Australian community," Mr Snowdon said.

The government hopes to have the ballot process finalised within the next two to three months.

Mr Snowdon had some strong words for tour companies which had sold tickets to Gallipoli centenary events on the basis their customers would be entitled to attend official events.

"If they are advertising now that they can sell tickets for the dawn service at Gallipoli in 2015, it's misleading, it's wrong and they should cease it."

If tour operators had taken money from people on that basis, they should give it back.

Mr Snowdon said tour companies had been warned as long ago as 2009 that they should not be selling tickets for Anzac centenary events at Gallipoli.

"We want to be open and transparent and allow every Australian the opportunity, should they wish, to try for the ballot," he said.

© AAP 2014
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