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Stephens, David: A truth-telling War Memorial does not need 2.5 hectares of extra floor space

David Stephens*

A truth-telling War Memorial does not need 2.5 hectares of extra floor space‘, Independent Australia, 14 December 2020

Contrasts the historical Stokes-Nelson memorial with the putative Anderson version, but notes the hostile reaction to the current Director’s suggestion that truth needs to be told about the Afghanistan venture post Brereton.

It would be a tragedy if Anderson were to be thwarted [in his truth-telling] but, at the same time, the proposed $498 million extension to the Memorial went ahead. It would then be a case of more and more space being devoted to telling the same old simple, how we fight, “what heroes we Aussies are”, sanitised story rather than venturing into new, more honest subject matter …

The Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley, should have rejected the Memorial’s heritage documentation rather than approving it under the EPBC Act. The PWC [parliamentary Public Works Committee] should report to the Parliament that there is no need for the project. Other options for the future of the Memorial should receive more than the cursory skim the Memorial has given them. Truth-telling at the Memorial does not need more space.

See also: more on the Brereton fallout and the Anzac legend; more on Heritage Guardians’ two year campaign against the $498m redevelopment of the Memorial.

* Dr David Stephens is secretary of the Honest History coalition and editor of its website (honesthistory.net.au) and a member of Heritage Guardians, a community committee leading the campaign against the proposed $498m extensions to the Australian War Memorial. You can follow him on Twitter @honesthistory1.