Is this Gillard's biggest gaffe yet?
ANZAC day is close to the heart of most Australians. It is the day we remember our many fine young men who died in war. It is often described as Australia's most sacred day. Criticizing it will both discredit the critic and lead to emphasized support for the commemorations. Gillard should have rejected this mealy-mouthed bureaucratic garbage immediately. As it is, it is now associated with her government. She's brainless and so are her ministers
THE Federal Government has been warned that celebrating the centenary of Anzac Day could provoke division in multicultural Australia - and that there are "risks" in honouring our fallen soldiers.
The centenary is a "double-edged sword" and a "potential area of divisiveness" because of multiculturalism, a taxpayer-funded report from 2010 finds.
Bureaucrats spent almost $370,000 for focus-group testing and a research paper used by the Government to guide commemoration plans, which listed multiculturalism under "risks and issues" to avoid "unexpected negative complications".
Diggers groups slammed the report, saying Australians supported the April 2015 centenary celebrations, which are expected to stop the nation, and include travelling exhibitions and special remembrance services.
The report also says organisers should avoid references to current military action because it is "unpopular with young people".
The paper states: "Commemorating our military history in a multicultural society is something of a double-edged sword.
"While the 100th anniversaries are thought to provide some opportunity for creating a greater sense of unity, it is also recognised as a potential area of divisiveness."
More research into the impact of Anzac Day commemorations on recently arrived migrants was suggested.
But the report acknowledged that making the centenary events "overly political correct" would not be well received generally or by military personnel.
Commemorations should be "culturally sensitive and inclusive", the paper said.
It said events to mark the centenary and wars which had claimed the lives of more than 100,000 Australians should not be "unrelentingly gloomy". Any commemoration "needs to allow a positive end, make it uplifting after being reflective".
"Commemoration fatigue" was identified in focus groups if events spanned a planned four years - the same amount of time Australians spent fighting in hellish conditions at places including Gallipoli and the Western Front during World War I.
The paper has been panned by the RSL, which maintains Australia's enthusiasm for the day remains as strong as ever.
RSL national president Ken Doolan, a member of the Anzac Day National Commission and the Anzac Centenary advisory board, said Anzac Day held a "central place in Australia". "The Australian people have said overwhelmingly that they want the centenary celebrated," he said.
Victorian RSL president David McLachlan said the commemoration had the full support of Australia's Turkish communities and the Turkish Government. There were no multicultural issues with the planned event, Mr McLachlan said.
Ray Brown, of the Injured Service Persons Association, was horrified by the spending. "We've always seemed to get it right, we have never offended anybody. "We seem to be able to acknowledge war is not a nice thing and that people on both sides lose out - and we have never had to spend $300,000 combined, let alone in one year," he said.
The cost is on top of more than $103,000 on focus groups to discuss "branding concepts" for the centenary in 2015.
A spokesman for Veterans Affairs Minister Warren Snowdon said the research paper was to "gain an understanding of the views, perceptions, knowledge and aspirations of the Australian people in relation to Anzac commemoration and the impending centenary".