ANZAC Day tensions
Tuesday, 27th March, 2012
By Kurtis Eichler
Commemorating 100 years of ANZAC Day could create divisions in multicultural Australia and be seen as “unpopular” in the eyes of young people, the Gillard Government has warned.
The Federal Government paid out almost $370,000 on focus-group testing and a research paper to be used as a guide to planning for the anniversary in 2015.
Multiculturalism was listed under the risks and issues section because it had the ability to create “unexpected negative complications.”
The paper labelled the commemoration of ANZAC Day as a “double-edged sword.”
“While the 100th anniversary is thought to provide some opportunity for creating a greater sense of unity, it is also recognised as a potential area of divisiveness,” the 2010 report said.
Due to military efforts overseas, the anniversary could also be seen as “unpopular with young people”.
After the release of the paper this week, diggers and RSL bodies across the country voiced their opposition to making ANZAC Day politically correct.
Former BH RSL president John Bacich dismissed the research, saying the centenary would attract huge crowds from all walks of life.
“I’d like to see Broken Hill prove them wrong,” the president of 12 years told the BDT.
“In Broken Hill anyway, it’ll be a huge event because the enthusiasm is still there.
“The young people in this town come to commemorate ANZAC Day in memory of their grandfathers, aunts and grandmothers.”
Pat Bacich, the local RSL branch treasurer and wife to John, said most migrants are “decent” people and respect Australian customs.
“To me if people come to our country as a migrant they should be asked to show respect for what we do,” she said.
Mr Bacich also questioned the price tag on the research paper, saying the money could be better spent elsewhere.
He said the money could be better spent in the caring for war veterans or finding a cure for cancer.
President-elect of the BH RSL, Chris Bowden said those who found ANZAC Day offensive or too politically incorrect didn’t have to be a part of it.
“We’ve got more young people and we’re getting more people at the ANZAC Day services,” the Vietnam veteran told the BDT.