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A six day a week War Memorial?

By johnboy - 21 October 2010 30

[First filed: Oct 20, 2010 @ 10:08]

Bellona and the war memorial

Liberal Senator Gary Humphries is in high dudgeon that War World the Australian War Memorial is so strapped for cash amongst its massive expansion programs that it briefly considered, and then discarded, the option of closing one day a week to save money for other things.

In Senate Estimates on Tuesday night, the War Memorial’s Director confirmed that consideration was given, although not ultimately actioned, to close the Memorial one day per week because of Labor’s funding cuts.

“I am appalled that Labor’s budgetary ineptitude is to be paid for by the Australian War Memorial”, Senator Gary Humphries said today.

“Labor’s track record on War Memorial funding is a disgrace, with revelations last year that the solemn ‘Last Post’ ceremony would have to be funded by a corporate sponsor following Labor’s funding cuts.

“As Australia prepares to commemorate the important centenary milestones of the Great War, including the landing at Gallipoli, surely now is not the time to cut funding.

Cue harrumphing from the sections of the public which buy Peter Fitzsimmons’ books.

In the short term it might be well played by the AWM; raising fears of service cuts to ensure further funding. But in the long term becoming enemies of Labor is a risky business.

As a country we really need to decide if an ever more elaborate memorial to ever smaller numbers of veterans is really where we want to go? Or perhaps we should spend a bit more time and energy looking to windward?

UPDATE: Another day another outrage against the community and dead diggers. Gary is sticking his head out of the trenches in support of Christmas carols at the War Memorial:

In Senate Estimates on Tuesday night, the War Memorial’s Director revealed that the annual Canberra tradition won’t take place this year due to budget cuts by the Government.

“This is a bridge too far. This government is so incompetent it’s prepared to ruin Christmas,” Senator Gary Humphries said today.

“Thousands of Canberrans look forward to the annual coming together of our community for carols at the War Memorial.

“This has been an event at the cultural heart of our community.

“While ‘Labor’s representatives in Canberra’ are busy sticking to the party line, their party is undermining our community culturally and physically.

I’m sure the soldiers of the British 1st Airborne Division wiped out at Arnhem would appreciate Gary appropriating their memory for a funding spat over Christmas Carols.

Christmas Carols at the War Memorial

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30 Responses to
A six day a week War Memorial?
amarooresident3 10:55 am 21 Oct 10

This so called annual Canberra tradition. If I recall correctly it’s a fairly recent innovation is it not?

Holditz 10:50 am 21 Oct 10

Actually the phrase “bridge too far” means an act of overreaching, going too far and getting into trouble or failing. So yeah, Gary Humphreys would be using this phrase without reference to any World War II battle.

And to be on topic, I seem to recall that the AWM wanted to sponsor out the playing of the Last Post at each day’s closing of the building, but public furore scuppered that plan.

den 10:01 am 21 Oct 10

Sepi said: Most of the other institutions are envious of the AWM’s budget.

I have to say what a load of rubbish! I was have seen (in the past) how much money the institutions receive from the government, and let me tell you that the National Museum received 10 million MORE than the memorial! Yes some institutions are envious of what the memorial gets, they being small rural ones… in the scale of the memorial – compaired to Nat Art Gall etc, memorial is lacking funds.

NickD 8:40 pm 20 Oct 10

johnboy said :

The Canberra Liberals are trying to repaint themselves as the trojan defenders of the APS.

With what degree of success who can say?

Given that the ACT is the best educated and by far the most politically aware electorate in the country I don’t like their odds. Many public servants do look back fondly on the late-Howard Government big government era though.

Anna Key 8:11 pm 20 Oct 10

In fact, I’m offended that the AWM isn’t open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Maybe if the AWM pulled a ‘sickie” once it week it would represent everything about Australia that our diggers fought and died for.

johnboy 5:42 pm 20 Oct 10

The Canberra Liberals are trying to repaint themselves as the trojan defenders of the APS.

With what degree of success who can say?

NickD 5:39 pm 20 Oct 10

It’s a bit odd that Humphries’ commitment to protecting national institutions didn’t extend to opposing the Liberal Party’s policy of massively cutting funding for the public service. I wonder if he’s aware that that the War Memorial is part of the APS and so would be affected by those cut backs.

colourful sydney rac 1:21 pm 20 Oct 10

Thumper said :

If I recall correctly, under the Howard government, the War Memorial was charging an admission fee due to being so, as Gary said, ’strapped for cash’.

Not sure if that is correct Mr Identity although there was some talk about doing so.

It definitely happened, and was highly controversial, just not sure if it was the dying days of the Keating Govt or under Howard. In the end it reverted to a donations appreciated type thing.

DarkLadyWolfMother 12:31 pm 20 Oct 10

They were supposed to charge entry at one point, but most of the staff either didn’t take money, or were happy to let you in if you weren’t inclined to pay.
I don’t think them ‘having’ to charge lasted long.

sepi 12:30 pm 20 Oct 10

they had gold coin at entry briefly. caused a big fuss and scrapped quickly.

Thumper 12:24 pm 20 Oct 10

If I recall correctly, under the Howard government, the War Memorial was charging an admission fee due to being so, as Gary said, ’strapped for cash’.

Not sure if that is correct Mr Identity although there was some talk about doing so.

colourful sydney rac 12:04 pm 20 Oct 10

If I recall correctly, under the Howard government, the War Memorial was charging an admission fee due to being so, as Gary said, ‘strapped for cash’.

sepi 11:52 am 20 Oct 10

Most of the other institutions are envious of the AWM’s budget.

Captain RAAF 11:15 am 20 Oct 10

And I think it’s the number 1 tourist destination in Australia…or is it just Canberra, anyway, it’s bloody popular!

I hope they planned on shaving a few days off the National Museum of Boredom, Questa ‘Go once and never again’ con and that national sleep fest that is Floriade before they thought about closing the AWM for a day.

amarooresident3 10:53 am 20 Oct 10

OMG! They thought about something but ultimately didn’t do it! The horror!!!

Just quietly, out of all the national institutions, the War Memorial has done very well under this and the previous government.

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