Daley, Paul: A $500m expansion of the war memorial is a reckless waste of money

Paul Daley

A $500m expansion of the war memorial is a reckless waste of money‘, Guardian Australia, 9 April 2018

Picks up the issue also canvassed by David Stephens of Honest History.

Having spent more than half a billion dollars on commemorating Anzac since 2014 alone, Australia now apparently has a plan, needless and reckless in my view, to blow another $500m – this time to renovate the Australian War Memorial.

But wait, there’s more: Australia will this month open the $100m Sir John Monash interpretive centre at Villers-Bretonneux in Northern France – an arguably unnecessary museum dedicated to the already duly commemorated 46,000 Australians who died on Europe’s western front during the first world war …

We should honour and never forget our war dead, of course. But this money would surely be far better spent on the living, not least the many hundreds of veterans, their partners and children, whose suffering is compounded by their struggles to win medical acknowledgment of, and government compensation for, service-related injury.

The war memorial plan, apparently hatched by AWM director, former defence minister Brendan Nelson, seems to tug at the patriotic heartstrings of political bipartisanship in order to create a vast underground complex at the 76-year-old memorial in which to display hardware like planes and helicopters, and to tell the story of current military operations.

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