This action in relation to the Board should not be seen as presaging any fundamental change in the government’s approach to the Anzac centenary. The Board was set up in March this year to advise the government on expenditure of funds raised from the private sector, much of it by arm-twisting from businessman Lindsay Fox. The Board’s current members are chairman former Senator Gary Humphries (going to a position at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal), vice chairman former Labor Minister Con Sciacca, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, and secretaries of Veterans’ Affairs, Simon Lewis, and Finance, Jane Halton, both ex officio.
While estimates of the amount of money pledged to the Public Fund range up to $100 million, most of the work in assessing what to do with the money would be done by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Ultimately, the decision would rest with the Minister assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of Anzac, Senator Ronaldson. The government will be saving itself sitting fees for two or three meetings a year and perhaps a bit of travel money.
There have been a number of announcements of where Public Fund money is to be spent, most notably on work on the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne, the Hyde Park Memorial in Sydney, Anzac Square in Brisbane, an eternal flame in Hobart, a footpath in Adelaide and a horse-riding trail in the Northern Territory. For more information, search the Honest History site under ‘Public Fund’.
13 December 2014