It is a national disgrace that the Australian War Memorial has been forced to seek a commercial sponsor to pay for the playing of the Last Post, the bugle call for military funerals and ceremonies for those fallen in war.
The Prime Minister should telephone the Minister for Veteran Affairs Veterans Affairs Minister Alan Griffin to reverse the $1.3 million budget cut on the Australian War Memorial.
Mr. Griffen told Brendan Nicholson of Fairfax media (23/9) one of the strengths of those running the memorial was the skill with which they linked the community and corporate Australia. ''The thing is to make sure it doesn't go too far,'' he said.
This is not a criticism of the telephone company which came forward to offer assistance. But it is extraordinary that one of the most generous or most profligate generous governments, depending on your perception, in the nation’s history should be so parsimonious with the nation’s heritage.
This is not the first time. As a result of the Federal Government's insistence that the Department of Defence find savings of $20 billion to pay for its new ships, submarines and jets, the Department this year cancelled the ''beating the retreat'' ceremony at the Royal Military College, Duntroon.
The comment made by a patriotic Australian at the time (reported in this column) applies equally today. “The Rudd Government has no understanding of the importance of maintaining tradition in the Defence Force. It would not occur to such self-centred politicians that tradition is one of the key drivers of morale, which in turn leads to success in combat. To make the Defence Force abandon tradition indicates what little regard this Government has for our fighting men and women.”
[ The video below,the ANZACS,is accompanied by the following music: Amazing Grace played by the Canadian Scottish Regiment Pipes and Drums and the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Band and The Last Post played by Peter Tiefenbach.]