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Daley, Paul: Both major parties were suckerpunched into supporting the $500m war memorial expansion

Paul Daley

Both major parties were suckerpunched into supporting the $500m war memorial expansion‘, Guardian Australia, 22 April 2019 updated

One of the signatories of the open letter against the War Memorial extensions provides a passionate but well-reasoned analysis of the politics relating to the project. More than 500 comments on the post within less than 24 hours of posting plus dozens of likes – and about 90 per cent agreeing with Daley’s arguments against the project.

The fear of being seen to disrespect Anzac has meant political support for the unnecessary expansion … Australia has not witnessed a more profligate cultural expense proceed with such a shamefully reckless absence of political scrutiny as the proposed half billion dollar expansion of the Australian War Memorial.

That is because both sides of federal politics – the Coalition government and the Labor opposition – have been cowed into supporting this needless $498 million project for fear of being seen to disrespect that most overblown shibboleth of Australian national identity, Anzac …

They have been sucker-punched into falling in behind a proposal that is unnecessary, has arguably been devoid of proper executive evaluation and has drawn the ire of everyone from the nation’s most esteemed architects, historians and writers to the memorial’s own respected former officials.