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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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A six day a week War Memorial?
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johnboy 8:29 am 22 Oct 10

Have you tried the carols at the lanyon homestead?

Thumper 8:27 am 22 Oct 10

claim budget blowout on the one hand, then complain about budget cuts on the other

Well, logically, if you have a budget blow out then you will have to make cuts to balance it, so your statement doesn’t really make a lot of sense.

Kath 4:23 am 22 Oct 10

The AWM carols are actually really lovely – unlike the main ones, they don’t come over as horrid commercialism, and they’ve been growing each year since I started going in 2006. No film crews and do-overs for the camera. (And I’m not into religion, just singing.) 🙂

Ian 10:20 pm 21 Oct 10

dtc said :

the Libs…claim budget blowout on the one hand, then complain about budget cuts on the other.

Yes, believe it or not they do want to have it both ways!

housebound 5:41 pm 21 Oct 10

I worked in retail. I can’t stand Christmas carols.

Anyway, what does 25 December have to do with Jesus, let alone the war memorial?

Mick Green 4:39 pm 21 Oct 10

The War Memorial always seemed an inappropriate venue for caroling anyway.

p1 3:32 pm 21 Oct 10

Holditz said :

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.

If he knew that the idiom originated with Operation Market Garden then he would know that he was, at least coincidentally, referencing World War 2.

Holden Caulfield said :

This what happens when you waste a chance to vote clowns like this out of office.

What happens? Departments come up with ideas and then they decide whether to progress them? *gosh*

dtc 3:05 pm 21 Oct 10

the Libs…claim budget blowout on the one hand, then complain about budget cuts on the other.

JessicaNumber 11:56 am 21 Oct 10

I’m not a Christian or a historian so forgive me for my confusion but… What does the war memorial have to do with Jesus?

Can’t Canberra arrange to do Christmas carols in a church and keep the war memorial for historical and philosophical education and discussion on war and conflict?

I like the idea of museums being open every day and for reasonably long hours but constraining those hours based on budget is a pretty normal trade-off. The NGA doesn’t open til 10am and nobody kicks and screams.

    johnboy 12:17 pm 21 Oct 10

    It was just something the memorial decided would be nice to do a few of years ago. Not really part of the core mission and considering their duty is to the nation, not the people of Canberra, understandable if they decided to spend their money elsewhere.

caf 11:45 am 21 Oct 10

physically undermining the community? Was coal discovered underneath our city while I was away?

sepi 11:43 am 21 Oct 10

Or maybe this is what happens when you fund an Institution to grow like Topsy, but don’t actually fund enough staff to work there.

Not that I had ever heard the AWM had money troubles. Their budget must be fairly large if they are subject to the efficiency dividend.

Smaller insitutions are definitely envious of AWM and also very envious of the ANM (museum) budgets. They both advertise frequenty in the ct, which costs a fortune for a start.

sirocco 11:41 am 21 Oct 10

Captain RAAF said :

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

Agreed. It is an incredibly popular tourist destination in Australia.

Captain RAAF said :

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.

Yes, I’m very sure the Director of the Australian War Memorial seriously considered closing the NMA and Questacon for a day each in an effort to save money at the AWM – and then later, he thought “oh, wait, that has no bearing on how we allocate our own money, derr! I’m such a doofus.”

🙂

Holden Caulfield 11:11 am 21 Oct 10

This what happens when you waste a chance to vote clowns like this out of office.

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.

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.

    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?

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