Anzac last hurrah of white Aussie male?

ANU historian, Professor Joan Beaumont, joint winner of the Prime Minister’s prize for history, says:

The Anzac legend has sometimes been seen as the last hurrah of the white Australian male. If you have a foundational national narrative that is essentially centred on white men, how then does the rest of the population relate to it?

Professor Beaumont’s comments came ahead of an international conference, Gallipoli 2015, where she is a featured speaker. The conference in Canberra 18-20 March is organised by the Australian War Memorial and ANU.

Professor Beaumont suggested the Anzac story may have limited appeal to recent immigrants to Australia, particularly those from war zones, and that Anzac Day might be reinvented ‘as a time where we remember loss in war because so many Australians have come from countries that are torn apart by war’. She also discussed the possibility of commemoration fatigue.

Professor Beaumont’s remarks were picked up by Channel 9, provoking a wide range of comments from members of the public. Channel 9 also ran a poorly-designed opinion poll whose results are meaningless because it would be possible to say ‘Yes’ to both questions.

18 March 2015

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