Old military buff Stokes gets another 12 months on the War Memorial Council; new memorial in AWM grounds

Minister Chester has announced that Kerry Stokes’ term on the Australian War Memorial Council has been extended for another 12 months. It was to end in August.

Note though that the extension is as a member of the Council, not necessarily as Chairman. The Council elects its own Chairman. Perhaps there is a plan for a handover period to another member of the Council to take over as Chairman. The Council includes former Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, and businessman (Aspen Medical) Glenn Keys.

The Age story (here’s a pdf from our subscription) includes previous commentary on Stokes’ suitability. It comes from former Memorial director, Brendan Kelson, and former Memorial historian, Peter Stanley.

Canberra Times on Stokes. Canberra Times on sculpture.

For earlier stories on Stokes, including his support of Ben Roberts-Smith, use our Search engine. See particularly this item about the Council’s support in November 2020 for Stokes as Chairman.

Another media release from the Minister advises that a new sculpture will be placed on the grounds of the Australian War Memorial, recognising the sufferings of war and service.

“I have spoken with many veterans’ families and friends, including those who have lost someone to suicide, about how military service has affected them and how this can be better recognised at the Australian War Memorial,” Mr Chester said.

“This project has been driven by the ex-service community, particularly Karen Bird and Connie Boglis, and I am proud that the Government will provide the $1.2 million to ensure its place at the Australian War Memorial.

The previous position had been that donors would have to foot the bill, which had been contrasted with the $500 million going on the Memorial rebuild. A welcome change of heart. ABC 7.30.

David Stephens

16 June 2021 updated

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