17 April 2008

Ballooning on ANZAC Day - disrespectful of just a lot of hot air?

| Ingeegoodbee
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It seems that the Canberra Balloon Festival has managed to get itself into a pickle with the local and national RSL with respect to their plans to have balloons in the air above Canberra on the morning of the 25th April. For want of a better source, the ABC has a snippet here.

Now apparently there have been balloons in the air on ANZAC Day for the past twenty five years with no one really getting their knickers in a knot. This year it seems that there’s some ACT Government involvment and perhaps in the past the flights were not officially sanctioned by the festival, but none-the-less the balloons were in the sky.

Bill Crews on the national RSL has a problem with the commercial aspect (although apparently just commercial balloon opperations because he’s silent on other businesses operating on ANZAC Day morning).

So, are balloons a viscious attack on this most sacred of days or is it a beat up? The usual suspects in the Sydney media are probably onto it. Could it be a case of sour grapes by the past (and recently dumped) organisers of the balloon festival trying to run interference?

[Ed. Devil_in_Disquiz was also on to this story and had the following to say in response to News.com.au’s story where an ACT Govt spokesperson claimed “It won’t be going anywhere near the dawn service”]

Won’t be going anywhere near the dawn service huh ?? And how can this spokesperson give that assurance ? Is this spokesperson a qualified balloon pilot ? Last time I heard, hot air balloons were directionally controlled mainly by the prevailing wind.

Maybe Stanhope and his cronies are going to sit at the end of Anzac Parade and ‘talk’ these balloons away with their own hot air.

When is the ACT govt going to start actually THINKING about their decisions. Pigs arse they consulted with these groups. More likely they were sent a fax telling them what was going to happen.

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That would be because the balloons are up after the dawn service and down before the march. You are probably in the RSL club sinking a few at that time.

“RSL honcho was advised that the balloons had been flying every ANZAC day for the past 25 years.

He’d never noticed them.”

If that’s true, that’s the biggest laugh of this whole pitiful beat-up.

Kieran Bennett12:12 pm 19 Apr 08


Radio this afternoon.

RSL honcho was advised that the balloons had been flying every ANZAC day for the past 25 years.

He’d never noticed them.

I balloon therefore I am

FrenchRioter4:55 pm 18 Apr 08

Who cares about ANZAC day anyway?
Who should care about ANZAC day anyway?
People care about soldiers who died during the First Wold War; what about those who currently die because of Australian military actions?
ANZAC Day is just another way to promote the army. After the catchy commercials that explain army is just some kind of outdoor recreation. After alarmist messages regarding Australian security against terrorists who probably do not exist.

Balloons are pacifists, non violent hobbies. I guess.

I march with my Dad’s medals nad I don’t think its all a bid deal really

I don’t quite get what all the fuss is about really. The Dawn Service will be over and the actual March will be hours away so its a non-issue in reality. but its sold papers and given 2cc listeners something to whinge about.

While not on 666 (in fact a noisy fat woman at a cafe), I had also heard some rambling about both the baloon festival and ANZAC day both being “local attractions” and equally deserving of Canberra’s respect, coincidentally on the same day.

Sure, they can operate at the same time, but don’t tell me they’re equal.
ANZAC day is not just an ‘attraction’ for the same reason that a funeral is not just a “get together with friends”.

Also, I’d buy a drink for a serviceman (or servicewoman, especially if they’re hot) who served the country, but certainly not for some pissweak metrosexual with a midlife crisis who thinks planes move too fast.

Do Mitsubishi fly a balloon in the festival? If they do then it would not be appropriate. Interesting watching the PR launch of their new passenger plane and no reference was made to their more well known zero.

I would have thought having a footy match on ANZAC day is more disrespectful than balloons? Why no complaints about that?

@Maelinar – Somehow I don’t think they’ll be letting the balloons up for those few minutes that the jets will be flying past. It’s called air traffic control. Unless you have inside info that there’s going to be a constant stream of F1-11s screaming down ANZAC Parade all day, I don’t think it’s an issue.

The balloons won’t launch until after the dawn service, and I’m assuming they’ll be out of the air before the march. In between the dawn service and the march, most of the diggers will be in the RSL or other venue (all non-commercial I would assume, since anything commercial on ANZAC Day is apparently disrespectful) raising a coldy inmemory of their mates.

It’s a non-issue. There’s enough hours in the day for everyone to celebrate the day as they wish.

captainwhorebags8:34 am 18 Apr 08

noodle – one good point is my quota reached, but alas it is not my original work. The line is a quote from the leader of the opposition. I don’t think the people organising the festival were being intentionally offensive, they probably just didn’t have a good long think about it.

Don’t read my “crusty oldies” remark as inclusive of everyone who participates in ANZAC day. I was referring to those who think they have a right to dictate how others choose to remember and honour the fallen. Every barrel of apples has a bad few within.

Kudos to you for marching.

You mean my grand-dad died for nothing and his gassed remains are being mocked by balloons? Hang on, there might have been ballooons at his funeral. Little ones though.

Daily Telegraph. Story about hot air. And we’re supposed to notice? I wouldn’t be surprised to see a blimp in the shape of Piers Ackerman – no, that was Piers Ackerman.

The dawn service is a thing of sad beauty. But, when it’s over, the sight of so many balloons (if they can be seen) may be an uplifting event. I get a bit narked about the RSL (a) speaking differently with its local and national voices and allowing this confusion to start and (b) purporting to speak for so many who are silent and whose voices will never be heard. They have not (to my knowledge) objected when there have been football matches and horse races on Anzac Day.

swamiOFswank6:57 pm 17 Apr 08

Unless the balloons are equipped with pearlised paint, 22″ chrome rims, neons, and mega-subbies pointed at the ground blaring ‘doof-doof’ in the middle of The Last Post, I really don’t see the problem with the balloons. You’d have thought that the old farts in the RSL would have realised by now that some live by the adage ‘live and let live’. Or…fight the big battles…

JD114. What right does Anzac Day have to interfere in balloons?

What right does the ACT government have to try and make balloons a part of Anzac Day?

I’ll be marching on Anzac Day with a small group of family and friends, all of whom had someone, whether grandfather, father, uncle or brother, who fought in a war. None of us are “crusty oldies” (thanks for that captainwhorebags), nor do we generally make a big deal out of it in that, after the march, it’s a family day for us.

I don’t believe any of us minded the balloon festival, because it didn’t have anything to do with Anzac Day – until now.

This morning on Ross Solly’s show on 666 some guy from Jon Stanhope’s office was trying his best to link the attraction of Canberra’s balloon event, with the ‘attraction’ of Anzac Day. That does offend me. Anzac Day is not a carnival. It’s a day for reflection. If the ACT government want to have ballons out that day, that’s fine. But don’t link the two events.

Captainwhorebags, you made one good point – “You can never underestimate the stupidity of the ACT Government when it comes to these kinds of events.”

They’re not only stupid, they’re disrespectful, and offensive.

captainwhorebags5:06 pm 17 Apr 08

Blueberry: true. Maybe Sonic should call it “WWI Observation Balloon Festival” or perhaps “Anti-Aircraft Barrage Balloon Festival”.

It is a stretch, but didn’t hot air balloons played an important role in recognisance in many wars.

Wide Boy Jake3:05 pm 17 Apr 08

This is just another silly beatup by the Daily Telegraph which also has a story claiming that the words Mum and Dad are to be banned in NSW schools (a furphy which was immediately denied by the Director-General of Education). Hoo, boy – must be low tide on the Parramatta River.

Given that the bloke from the mob that previously ran the festival is being quoted in all the coverage (even Sydney-based outlets who would not care about the change of organisers and would be unlikely to have actively sought comment from him), I’d say he’s had a hand in helping to beat this up.

neanderthalsis3:00 pm 17 Apr 08

Given that the Dawn service starts at 0427k (when it is still nice and dark) your average balloonatic would still be in bed awaiting a 0630ish takeoff. Floating around at 4:30am in the dark is not appealing to most people who would want to see the picturesque surrounds of our nations capital by dirigible.

Err maybe I should have been more clear. Baloons can’t be there on ANZAC day because its in the flightpath of the jets that do the fly past(s).

It seems commonsense why they have never been there before, as several F1-11 thundering past would make them crap themselves as they are dragged into Mt Ainslie, presumably to their deaths.

Absent Diane2:31 pm 17 Apr 08

balloostemy bags?

perhaps there are concerns about the balloons being confused with colostemy bags?

Does it really matter where one celebrates/pays respects/gets blotto for the Festival of the Glorious War-dead?

Rum or champagne? Depends where you are in relation to the ground I guess.

RSL national president Bill Crews says “It’s disrespectful. Why do we have to go ballooning on Anzac Day morning? There’s 365 other days of the year.”

Actually, most people work most days and ANZAC day is one of the few days they can take their family down to watch the glorious spectacle of the balloons. In fact, I can’t think of a better way to spend ANZAC Day morning then going to the dawn service, grabbing some brekky at a commercial establishment then watching all the colourful balloons in flight over the city.

captainwhorebags12:54 pm 17 Apr 08

It’s all a beat up. As pointed out, other commercial air services run so why shouldn’t this one?

I’ve got all the time in the world for those who choose to serve their country in the armed forces, but I’m sick of the crusty oldies who want to dictate exactly how the rest of the country should pay their respects. Much like the self appointed ANZAC day watchdogs criticising kiddies wearing someone elses medals on the left breast when there is no official regulation against it whatsoever.

Oh, and as The Terror reports, Dr Nelson has a sobering warning for us all: “You can never underestimate the stupidity of the ACT Government when it comes to these kinds of events.” If only his colleagues in the ACT Libs could put together a viable alternative.

Snahons_scv6_berlina12:51 pm 17 Apr 08

yet another example of people who have nothing better to do than beat up on something for the sake of wasting time.

What right does the ANZAC day service have to interfere with the balloons? Unless the balloons somehow disrupt the service then I find it difficult to believe that there is merit in the RSL’s position. As for the commercial aspect, will he shut down the petrol stations and newsagents until the end of the service as well????

All the authorities need to do is establish an exclusion zone for balloons around the Dawn Service for the duration. And as for the assertion that the balloons have no contol over their direction, any ballooning pilot will tell you that unless there is an obvious consistent wind from a particular direction, there is usually a reasonable amount of control in direction by finding differing levels of wind.

On the day a decision could be made by the organisers and if no indication of a prevaling W to SW wind then OK to launch, and a minimum height of say 1000′ agl could be mandated over Reid and Campbell in the unlikely event a balloon got pushed over the area of the service.

Quite simple really for people who choose to consider the facts and think laterally once in a blue moon.

I march on ANZAC day, and have done in Canberra on and off over the last 10 years – to date I’ve never seen a balloon yet.

If a balloon ‘invades’ the airspace between Parliament House and the War Memorial, there is a bloody good risk they will get run over by several big fast things – its no secret, they do it every ANZAC day.

If they want to push the point, I see no reason for the fighters to stop.

Ingeegoodbee12:34 pm 17 Apr 08

I would understand that diggers and their relatives might find that a 25m high Bart Simpson drifting over head distracts somewhat from the solemnity of the occasion, but where the balloon launch and the dawn service don’t coincide I cant see the issue.

I presume all aeroplane traffic will also be grounded during the ceremonies? Or just the brightly-painted aeroplanes, like all Virgin Blue planes and those disgraceful Qantas jumbos covered in silly pictures.

DarkLadyWolfMother12:29 pm 17 Apr 08

If the end of the Dawn Service is before the start of the balloons rising, I can’t see what the issue is. If, for some reason, they overlap, then I can see there may be issues – especially if the wind is going the wrong way.

Absent Diane12:24 pm 17 Apr 08

I fail to see how balloons are disrespectful to ANZAC day… if the balloons said something offensive directed at the diggers then yep sure. But otherwise who gives a fck!!

I understood the lift off on Anzac Day would be delayed until an hour after the conclusion of the dawn service. The cynic in me asks how much business the family orientated balloon festival will take away from the clubs who are allowed to open and sell food and grog when other places are shut.

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