More than 6000 people keeping a dedicated vigil at the Anzac Commemorative Site, Gallipoli. (Anzac Day, 2012) Photo: Supplied
Australians have been warned against buying tickets for the 2015 Anzac centenary dawn services from ''irresponsible'' travel companies before the national ticket ballot.
Veterans Affairs Minister Warren Snowden issues the warning as he announced on Monday that Australians would get 8000 of the 10,500 places available for the 2015 service on April 25 on the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey.
Of those, 3000 double passes would go to ordinary members of the public under a ballot system, which is designed to keep crowd numbers to a reasonable level.
Surviving widows of Gallipoli veterans will automatically get tickets. There would be 400 double passes for direct descendants of veterans, with the preference going to sons and daughters. Another 400 double passes will be available to veterans of other wars.
But Mr Snowden expressed sharp frustration at what he said was a relatively small number of tour companies who were already advertising or even selling tickets to the 2015 dawn service.
''Most of the tour companies that we're talking to have been acting very responsibly. There have been some examples of people who haven't. They have been acting inapproporiately and if any are advertising sure attendance at the . . . Lone Pine service for 2015, they should cease doing it,'' he said.
''Frankly if people have been selling tickets to an event they don't own, they are acting irresponsibly.
''It's misleading, it's wrong, they should cease it and if they've taken money from people, they should give it back.''
Travel companies had been told since at least 2010 that there would be an official ballot for the 2015 service and they should not be selling tickets ahead of the ballot, he said.
He said anyone who had handed over money already to a travel company had been ''misled''.
Mr Snowden declined to name any companies but he said he had ''spoken to individuals''.
It is understood one company had been advertising activities such as surf boat races at Gallipoli. Mr Snowden said that ''these are matters I'm sure the Turkish authorities will have a great interest in''.
He acknowledged people would miss out on tickets – the interest would likely well exceed the 10,500 places that have been agreed as a cap between the Australian, New Zealand and Turkish governments.
As well as the Australia allocation, 2000 places will go to New Zealanders and 500 to VIPs.
''We realise the limitations on the site . . . We are extremely grateful to the Turkish government for the assistance they provide us. They provide the security for the site, they host us at the site,'' Mr Snowden said.
Australia and New Zealand are yet to decide how the ballot will work but Mr Snowden said he hoped to finalise the ballot by the first quarter of next year.