Two Anzac zingers as parliament resumes

Bipartisan wrap-up yesterday from prime minister and opposition leader on recent Anzac commemorations at Gallipoli, which they both attended. The speeches were similar, revealing the bipartisan approach to Anzac – almost as if both sides fear wedging by the other if they stray far from the received version.

Two remarks stood out though. The prime minister said this when speaking about Stanley Melbourne Bruce and Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk):

He [Bruce] had great respect for Ataturk, the General turned statesman whose famous words of consolation to the grieving mothers of Australia, that their sons were lying in the soil of a friendly country, stand in stone on the Gallipoli Peninsula and are carved on the Ataturk Memorial here in Canberra.

We pointed out to the prime minister’s office and department that this remark did not take account of the latest research on Ataturk’s words which suggest he more than likely never said or wrote the words. We have not yet received a reply.

Then in Bill Shorten’s speech there was this:

I also acknowledge the work of Lindsay Fox and his committee to raise a quarter of a billion dollars to ensure that the celebrations could be done in the best possible way.

We checked with Mr Shorten’s office to see where this figure came from. Was it an estimate? An amount that was already in the kitty? Again, no reply received as yet.

If $250 million does indeed flow into DVA’s coffers, then the Australian total spend on the Anzac centenary will amount to somewhere around $700 million. Should we be proud?

13 May 2015 updated

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