My readers will remember ANZAC Day 2011 on which the Australian Christian Lobby’s Jim Wallace tweeted that our ANZACS didn’t fight for gay marriage and Islam. You would have thought the brouhaha that followed that event would have warned everyone against using the day to push their own ideological agenda.
But independent South Australian MLC, Ann Bressington – a well-known anti-vax, anti-abortion, anti-fluoride, anti-anything-else-that’s-even-mildly-sensible conspiracy theorist – is immune to salutory lessons, it seems.
Ms Bressington chose the day to post a Facebook message linking the ANZACS and “BIG PHARMA”.
With steam emanating from every orifice, I wrote a retort which has been published today on Online Opinion. You can see it here:
Now, my dear friend Hilton Travis (Somewhere to Think / The Outspoken Wookie) has, quite rightly questioned whether I’m being hypocritical in slamming Ms Bressington, while not also criticising my friend, Catherine Deveny for her ANZAC Day tweets. It’s something I gave deep thought to in writing the article.
In a series of tweets, Catherine wrote:
“Anzac Day. A celebration of a society so fucked up it saw no other option than to go to war. Kill, rape and invade. Then glorify it.
“The ‘spirit of ANZAC’ does not define our nation. It’s our peaceful secular democracy rooted in workers rights, feminism & multiculturalism.
“Read your history. No war Australia has ever fought has resulted in our ‘freedom’ or ‘opportunities’.
“Days like #anzacday are simply a rewriting of history to stop the sucked in and ripped off burning down parliament and killing politicians.
“Not the day for it? The only day for it. Show respect? That’s exactly what I’m doing.
“It’s very clear Japan had no intention of invading Australia. The persistance (sic) of this myth is amazing/alarming/convenient.”
As usual, Dev was blunt and controversial and you may or may not agree with her view. But, in contrast to Wallace and Bressington, Deveny was not usurping ANZAC Day to push an unrelated ideological view. I think that is the key difference here. In fact, I would say that many returned soldiers would agree with her sentiments.
Would I have tweeted as Dev did? No. But I’m not Dev. I would argue, however, that anti-war commentary such as Dev’s is in the tradition of Alan Seymour’s great play, “The One Day of the Year” and that ANZAC Day is an appropriate day for anti-war sentiment. It is never, however, an appropriate day to clamber up on the bodies of dead soldiers to promote an agenda which they almost certainly didn’t share and had possibly never even considered.