Snake oil and surveys: media coverage of Public Works Committee inquiry into War Memorial project

Yesterday’s hearing of the Public Works Committee threw up extensive media coverage by ABC TV (mark 22.0), AAP in lots of regional papers, ABC News, Canberra Times, Canberra City News, Guardian Australia, Sydney Morning Herald. Highlights were the testimony (against the development) of former Directors Brendon Kelson and Steve Gower, the remark by Heritage Guardians’ Professor Peter Stanley that the Museum’s claim to offer a ‘therapeutic milieu’ for recent veterans was ‘snake oil’ and ‘the museum equivalent of hydroxychloroquine’, and the ability of the War Memorial to peddle questionable statistics about the degree of public support for the proposal, when other measures (such as the submissions to the PWC inquiry, 80 per cent of which opposed the plan) run strongly in the opposite direction. More to come on this.

More: Canberra Weekly, 2CC Canberra (Director Anderson podcast with Leon Delaney), 3AW Melbourne (Brendon Kelson with Tom Elliott), ABC Evenings Sydney with Emma Alberici (Director Anderson from mark 1.00 for 20 minutes). (Alberici standing in for Sarah Macdonald.)

More: 2GB (Director Anderson answers Ben Fordham firing bullets drawn from Peter Stanley comments); Canberra Times (Senator Seselja and Steve Gower); architects. A veteran’s view from 2018 on how to better spend the money. This Tweet on 20 July from Professor Rory Medcalf, head of the ANU’s National Security College:

Bizarre to hear Kerry Stokes suggest the economic revitalisation of Canberra is the main benefit of a $500 million expansion of the Australian War Memorial museum – if so, there are plenty of other cultural institutions in Canberra equally or more deserving of this stimulus.

More: Kerry Stokes on ABC RN. Alicia Payne, MP for Canberra. Canberra City News. Bereaved mother, Karen Bird, on ABC RN Breakfast. The Riot Act. Government News.

PWC Hansard will be out in due course. Heritage Guardians’ campaign diary.

David Stephens

15 July 2020 updated

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