Flat White

Brace yourselves for a round of fake ANZAC speeches

6 March 2017

11:51 AM

6 March 2017

11:51 AM

Australians should prepare themselves for an avalanche of fake speeches from our political class as the 75th anniversary of the War in the Pacific approaches.

They will recite great deeds of courage, sacrifice, endurance and mateship – the words etched in granite pillars at the Isurava Memorial on the Kokoda Trail.

But you won’t hear them mention that ‘mateship’ has been replaced by ‘friendship’ on the latest taxpayer funded memorial at the start of the trail at Owers Corner. ‘Friendship’ is obviously more PC because it doesn’t have the ugly white male Anglo-Saxon connotations associated with ‘mateship’.

If your MP does not make an unconditional commitment to protect the word ‘mateship’ and change the wording on the memorial at Owers Corner you are listening to a fake speech.

They will sometimes choke up with faux emotion as they recall the deeds of the thousands of ‘fuzzy-wuzzy angels’ who sacrificed their lives to carry our wounded diggers to safety over the rugged Owen Stanley Ranges.

But they won’t tell you that the government they represent refuses to officially recognise them by recording their names on a roll of honour and striking a campaign medal for them. If questioned they might mutter something about former Prime Minister Rudd issuing them with a medallion a few years ago – but they won’t mention that it was a shameless publicity stunt. Rudd authorised a few medallions with eligibility conditions that only a bureaucrat could conjure up i.e. the recipients had to be alive – which eliminated 99.9 per cent of the entitlements. This restricted the stunt to a couple of photo opportunities to create a perception of righting a wrong at minimal cost and effort. Veterans understand the difference between a medallion and a medal – one comes from a Weeties packet and the other is earned and recorded on the national roll of honour.

If your MP does not make a strong personal commitment to right this wrong by striking a 75th anniversary medal for the New Guinea wartime carriers then you are listening to a fake speech.

He/she will undoubtedly reflect on the Kokoda campaign and refer to the politically correct term, Kokoda Track. They will neglect to mention that the name of the battle honour awarded to the 10 Australian infantry battalions who fought in the Kokoda campaign is ‘Kokoda Trail’ and the official name gazetted by the independent sovereign nation of Papua New Guinea is also ‘Kokoda Trail’.

If your MP cannot bring himself/herself to use the official name emblazoned on our Australian army battle honours because it is not PC to do so you are listening to a fake speech.

They will probably neglect to mention the Tol Plantation Massacre at Rabaul where 158 unarmed Australian prisoners were asked by their Japanese captors whether they would prefer to be bayoneted or shot. Screams heard by witnesses indicated they were bayoneted. This happened because the political class at the time neglected to meet their national obligation to keep Australia safe and cut the defence budget to an unsustainable level. Three battalions of young men were therefore sacrificed on remote islands without any prospect of support or escape. The feminisation and social engineering of our defence forces today would have a similar catastrophic result if we were to face a similar threat.

It is, therefore, unlikely that the Tol Plantation Massacre will be mentioned.

If they don’t make a commitment to supporting a modern defence force capable of independent operations in our region for any longer than a month you are listening to a fake speech.

Given the significance of the 75th anniversary of the war in New Guinea, he/she will probably reflect on other battles at Milne Bay, Buna, Gona, Sanananda, Finschaffen, Lae, the Black Cat Track, Shaggy Ridge, the Huon Valley, the Finisterre Ranges, Bougainville and Wewak.

But if they don’t mention that they are working with the Papua New Guinea Government to fund the development of plans to protect and interpret battle sites sacred to our shared wartime heritage you are listening to a fake speech.

He/she will most likely mention the magnificent contribution our over-stretched troops are making in the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq as they have for more than a decade.

But if they don’t commit to seriously funding programs to address the unacceptable rates of suicide, post-traumatic stress and homelessness of our contemporary veterans you are listening to a fake speech.

He/she will probably wrap up their speech with a reference to the ongoing war against terror and the need for us to be vigilant and supportive.

But if they don’t make a solid commitment to strip every terrorist fighting for our enemies in Iraq and Syria of their Australian citizenship – no ifs – no buts – then you are listening to a fake speech.

Community reaction to the fake Anzac speeches and the faux emotion is most likely to be goodbye Mal, goodbye Bill — hello Pauline, hello Cory, hello Jacqui. And that won’t be fake!

Vietnam Veteran Charlie Lynn retired as a major from the Australian Army after 21 years service. He later served in the NSW Parliament for almost 20 years. A veteran of 84 Kokoda Trail crossings he was inducted as an Officer of the Order of Logohu in the 2015 PNG New Years Honours List.

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