Circulating message claims that the Australian Federal Government is considering watering down Anzac Centenary celebrations because such celebrations might offend new immigrants.
The claims are utter nonsense. Firstly, the main Anzac Centenary celebrations, and the ones that the message is apparently alluding to, occurred in 2015, so posting and sharing this message a year later in 2016 is beyond pointless. Secondly, the centenary celebrations in 2015 were certainly not ‘watered down’ in any way whatsoever. Anzac Day 2015 was a major and very successful event with record crowds attending Anzac ceremonies all over the country. And, there is no indication that the government is considering watering down Anzac Day 2016 either. In fact, the message is just a mutated version of a false and inflammatory political diatribe that first began circulating back in 2013.
According to this would be protest message, which is gaining momentum on Facebook and other platforms as Anzac Day 2016 approaches, the Australian Federal government is considering watering down Anzac Centenary celebrations because such celebrations might offend new immigrants. The rather strident message suggests that people should leave Australia if they don’t love it and goes on to discuss the importance of the Anzac tradition. It asks that people repost the information and tell everyone about it.
In fact, versions of the post have been circulating for several years. It is derived from a longer protest message that began circulating back in 2013. But, all versions of the message are highly misleading and inaccurate. Neither the current nor the previous Federal governments ever considered watering down or toning down Anzac Day in any way. As I discuss in an earlier article on the issue, the original message may have been based on a misunderstanding about a Department of Veterans’ Affairs study to determine community attitudes about Anzac Day. The study raised concerns about inappropriate behaviour among some Anzac Day event participants. It also warned of potential problems resulting from Australia’s multicultural makeup. However, then Prime Minister Gillard publicly rejected the report’s criticisms and the government of the day certainly did not attempt to ‘tone down’ Anzac Day as a result of the study.
A baffling aspect of the current version is that it is circulating right now. In 2016. A year after the initial Anzac Centenary celebrations took place. While centenary celebrations are ongoing, the reference in the post seems squarely aimed at the initial Anzac 2015 events.
And, for the record, the initial Anzac Centenary was a great success with record crowds attending services in towns and cities across the country on Anzac Day 2015. Anybody who actually participated on the day would have surely realised that any claim that celebrations had been watered down was utter nonsense. The centenary was a major and significant event.
Moreover, there is no indication whatsoever that the current Australian Federal Government has any intention or desire to water down Anzac Day 2016 either.
Last updated: April 15, 2016
First published: April 15, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen
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