The AWM Sacrilege: Silence Bestows Consent

We all know that common civility is in decline.  One example of this that particularly irritates me is letter protocol.  Once upon a time, if you wrote a letter to a politician, a public figure or a business manager, unless you were abusive or an obvious nutter, you would get a timely acknowledgement of you letter and, absent a substantive response, an undertaking to respond in due course. These days, unless your letter is an offer of a donation or some other form of support, don’t hold your breath.

Earlier this year, July 16 to be precise, I sent a registered letter to my Labor Federal MP — Fiona Phillips, MHR for Gilmore — asking her to pose, on my behalf, some questions to Energy Minister Chris Bowen.  After a couple of weeks, I emailed her asking if she had received the letter. I heard nothing and so I followed up with another email.  I finally received a call from a staffer who told me there was no record of the letter (despite Australia Post’s confirmation of delivery which, presumably, required a signature) and could I email them a copy, which I promptly did.  Nothing heard so on  September 8, I emailed another copy.  Finally, last week I got a letter confirming that my questions had been forwarded to Bowen.

What do you expect from a Labor member, I hear the more cynical among you ask?  Better than that, I would respond. But this dereliction is not confined to the Left.

Readers will be aware that lately I have been rather exercised on the matter the proposed desecration of the Australian War Memorial by inclusion of presentations on the so-called ‘colonial wars’. As part of my campaign to put a stop to this nonsense, on October 4, I wrote letters to Dr Brendan Nelson, Tony Abbott, Lt Gen Simon Stuart, VADM Mark Hammond, Maj Gen Greg Melick (all members of the AWM Council) as well as Minister for Veteran’s Affairs Matt Keogh, Shadow Defence Minister Andrew Hastie and Senators Jim Molan and Pauline Hanson.  On October 7 I sent emails to Molan, Hastie, Matt Canavan, Keith Pitt, Alex Antic and Townsville MP Phil Thompson.

How many acknowledgements do you reckon I got? Go on, have a guess.  You got it.  Zip.

Maybe I’m just a ‘sad old man’ (the descriptor one leftoid critic of my book Bitter Harvest laid on me) miffed at being ignored by the great and the good.  I know that these people are busy and are constantly besieged by people like me, and that they cannot, at least in the first instance, respond personally.  But they do have staffers whose job is to sift the wheat from the chaff and bring matters to the attention of their masters that are thought worthy of personal intervention.  So, if the staffers of all these figures believe that the proposal to demean the War Memorial is not of this nature, then they are at odds with the almost 7,000 people who have signed my petition “Hands Off the Australian War Memorial” . Seven thousand might not seem a huge number but it has been achieved in less than two weeks with virtually no support or publicity from the conservative media.

Andrew Bolt and Peta Credlin, to their credit, have written against this proposal. They have registered their objection but unless conservatives – both politicians and commentators – can wring a retraction out of the War Memorial Council, this issue will go under the radar.  It will have ‘strutted and fretted its hour upon the stage’ and will then be ‘heard no more’ until we are presented with a fait accompli sometime in 2023By then it will be too late.  It will remain as one more tactical defeat for conservatives in the Culture Wars. One more small step for the Long March.

All the aforementioned have a part to play in this fight, assuming they agree with me.  God help us if they don’t.

17 thoughts on “The AWM Sacrilege: Silence Bestows Consent

  • jjprineas says:

    My uncle Jack arrived in OZ just before the war and volunteered to join the army. He was still an alien. He served as a digger/ gunner in New guinea. Years later, at family Sunday lunch he would admonish us kids with: “‘One day you will be eating with chopsticks”‘

    • Lawrie Ayres says:

      That is if we have something to eat after Bowen destroys the beef and sheep herds. I am still wary of Murray Watt, the erstwhile Minister for Agriculture, and his half-hearted response to the prospect of foot and mouth coming to Australia. On the one hand Bowen wants to decrease the animal herds and here is a nice disease that will accomplish that without appearing to be a government plan. One cannot trust Labor with agriculture since they know less about it than Bowen knows about electricity. If that doesn’t do the trick Plibersek is redoing the MD Basin Plan and will no doubt take away more irrigation water. She has already cancelled a urea plant in WA so she obviously likes what happened in Sri Lanka. Uncle Jack has more to fear from our own politicians than any foreign invaders.

      • Biggles says:

        Lawrie, As Prof. Ian Plimer said some years ago, the Murray Darling basin has died the death of a thousand plans, Plibersek, a mindless socialist destructionist, will add just one more plan to the total.

      • Wyndham Dix says:

        “Uncle Jack has more to fear from our own politicians than any foreign invaders.”
        Too few men in and out of public life today have steel in their spines. We are reaping that which we have sown for more than 40 years under female dominance of education.
        Churchill’s prediction at or near the height of suffragette violence more than 100 years ago has come to pass.

      • Botswana O'Hooligan says:

        More than forty years ago the federal government knew about foot and mouth disease and screw worm fly in coastal PNG so we people in coastal surveillance were tasked to take people around the North and in particular some Islands near PNG where they could talk about both diseases plus banana bunchy top. The fear was that F&M and screw worm would get into Cape York peninsular, especially to those of us who grew up in the far North for we knew that once the “locals” were given the land they would do the usual and neglect everything and the feral pig and cattle population would explode and spread any disease. Well, the “locals” have control over just about everything up that way so now it’s a lay down misère that both diseases are probably there or will be before too long. The various governments since that time have done little or nothing so this is most likely another political noise exercise.

  • Lonsdale says:

    Isn’t Tony Abbott a Quadrant director? Can we ask why he didn’t reply?

  • March says:

    Credit to your patience Peter.

    I fear the only way to get attention these days will be to throw soup over something and glue yourself to something else.

    The tent “embassy” comes to mind.

  • Daffy says:

    For contrast, a few years ago I wrote to the then Lib. minister for health about some problem with the intricacies of medicare and my long complex treatment plan. I received a phone call from his office soon after, and some support, as much as could be given in their position.

    I spotted a similar medicare problem recently (MRIs for old folks knees not allowed in medicare) wrote to the ALP health minister….crickets. Perhaps he didn’t understand the big words I used.

    • gareththomassport says:

      I have taken up the issue of MRI rebates for “old folks” knees over several years, having interviews with 2 local members, an interview at Parliament House with a staff member from the Health Department, and 2 resultant letters from Health Ministers (Ley and later Hunt).
      The summary of those letters was “unless you’re a lobbyist from Big Pharma, you can bugger off”.

  • Michael says:

    This War Memorial issue doesn’t seem a small loss, or another small victory for the long march of the left. Its much more serious. It raises the status of skirmishes between the British settlers and aboriginal groups, mostly over issues like the theft of livestock, food, arguments over women, etc, to the status of wars between nations. It is that strategic victory – the recognition of Australian Aboriginal fighting a national war against an invader (the British) they crave. It is that ideological victory they want. This is strategic, not tactical.

  • john.singer says:

    The War Memorial should remain soley for the recognition of peope who fell in the service of Australia in the Uniform of an Australian Armed Service.

  • Farnswort says:

    Please keep up the good fight, Peter.

  • Farnswort says:

    “… historian Geoffrey Blainey blasted the memorial’s governing council, saying such an exhibit belonged in the National Museum in Canberra, not in an institution devoted to commemorating Australia’s overseas military service.

    Professor Blainey, who twice served on the memorial’s governing council, told The Weekend Australian that frontier warfare between Indigenous groups and European settlers should be recorded in the National Museum in Canberra, as well as other state museums, but would not be appropriate in the Australian War Memorial.

    He said it was essential Australia’s frontier wars be treated “more impartially” than Mr Nelson was proposing if they were to be properly recognised in any museum.

    “I believe that conflict between Aborigines and Europeans, especially in the century after 1788, was often extensive and should be recorded in museums … (but) not in the AWM,” Professor Blainey said.

    “Warfare between Aboriginal groups was on a large scale in traditional times and this should (also) be on record … the Aboriginal way of life had many merits but the peoples and ‘nations’ did not necessarily live in harmony with one another, nor their environment,” he said.

    “The Prime Minister has been a strong advocate of the Dark Emu theory that the traditional Aboriginals formed a peace-loving democracy, the oldest in the world. Will this be part of the new exhibit?”

    Professor Blainey – whose pioneering book Triumph of the Nomads was one of the first histories to address violence on the frontier – insisted any exhibit should display the massacres of Indigenous peoples by Indigenous peoples, as well as British peoples massacred by Indigenous peoples.”


  • Farnswort says:

    “The Australian War Memorial … is a place to remember our fallen who died in our wars. It should be above politics,” said shadow defence minister and Afghanistan veteran Andrew Hastie.

    “Over time it has evolved into a museum (but) I’m sympathetic to the view that it is not a new battleground for the history wars, it’s a place to remember our fallen.”

    “This invites the hostile, postmodern academy into the inner sanctum of Remembrance, which they will treat as a beachhead to move further inland on Anzac and tradition.”


  • davidbarton says:

    Peter, I feel your pain. In recent times I have written over ten letters/emails to members of State and Federal Parliaments, to the IPA and to Quadrant. The only reply I have received was a courtesy email from Mark Latham’s staff. Further, in my dealings over the last ten years with government departments and bureaucrats, they often fail to reply at all. When pressed they will eventually acknowledge you, but if you are correcting them on some error they have made and they refuse to either acknowledge or correct that error they will simply advise you that they will no longer correspond with you and from then on they simply ignore every entreaty you make to them. Meanwhile, their errors go unchanged. Is it any wonder our public sphere has gone down the toilet? Heaven help Australia. Please keep up your good work. 🙁

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