Stephens, David: Freedom and the Australian War Memorial: is Honest History not a force for good?

Stephens, David

Freedom and the Australian War Memorial: is Honest History not a force for good?‘, Honest History, 1 September 2015

Honest History’s secretary and editor traces the often fraught relationship between Honest History and the Australian War Memorial, which began with a tense meeting with Memorial management at a very senior level and has culminated (for the time being) in a protocol requiring that Honest History communicate with the Memorial only through the Memorial’s communication and marketing area. The article explains elements of Honest History’s communication strategy and concludes:

It is a pity that people at the Memorial are not able to talk to us directly rather than through a filter. They could take the opportunity to tell us where and why we are wrong; we would welcome that.

The attitude behind the protocol is more important than its words, however. Putting aside its quibbling about process, the protocol indicates there is at the Memorial an unwillingness to engage in robust discussion about the nature of commemoration and the presentation of history, now and in the future …

We are not the Memorial’s enemies; we are its constructive critics … If what Honest History has said over the past two years has not always been to the Memorial’s liking or has not been within the narrow confines of the Memorial’s received view of Australian history, then that is its problem, not ours.

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