That's (not) the ANZAC spirit
By Rod Swift
Just when did it become acceptable to use one of our most sacred days – ANZAC Day – as a cheap political football?
I’m sure that people would be rightly quick to heap scorn on any person who would use a day of solace, remembrance and reflection to further a political agenda.
Heaven forbid, a soldier would be the last person you’d think would taint such a solemn day.
Which is why Jim Wallace should be hanging his head in shame.
Former Brigadier Wallace is a graduate of Duntroon, has served in the Royal Regiment and has commanded our elite Special Air Services Regiment.
Undoubtably, the former Brigadier Wallace’s service to our nation has been exemplary.
Which is why I am agog at his post-military posturings.
Earlier today, that same former army man and now head of Australia’s right-wing fundamentalist lobby used Twitter to send to his followers the following insensitive comment:
@JimWallaceACL — Jim Wallace — Just remember that as we remember Servicemen and women today we remember the Australia they fought for – wasn’t gay marriage and Islamic!
Was it a deft tactical manoeuvre by the former Brigadier to deliberately fan the flames of racism and homophobic abuse on ANZAC Day?
Can his tactic be seen as a “two-step forward, one-step retreat” rear-guard action? After all, he’s apologised for picking today to express his most offensive of views:
@JimWallaceACL — Jim Wallace — Ok you are right my apologies this was the wrong context to raise these issues. ANZACs mean to much to me to demean this day, not intended
Disappointingly, the former Brigadier couldn’t find it in his heart to apologise for the actual slur against gays and Muslim people.
Maybe he was softening us up so such offensive notions are acceptable on any other non-sacred day in our calendar? It certainly hasn’t been the first time that the former brigadier has deliberately attacked people of a minority sexuality.
And what of our out, proud, GLBTI service personnel, who have been serving our nation with distinction and honour openly since 1992, and no doubt secretly for decades?
In October last year, Mr Wallace urged our Federal MPs to find a higher standard of morality, and to “set the highest standard of courage and integrity and to commit to protect and demonstrate it, as is so essential in the highest leadership calling in the nation.”
I agree. Political discourse in this country should be reasoned, thinking and debated. It should not be dragged to the lowest common denominator, without fanning the flames of racism, hatred and ignorance.
Mr Wallace should show leadership and apologise not only for picking ANZAC Day to offend the memories of our fallen soldiers, but also for maligning whole sections of our community with offensive hyperbole.
He should also admit that those comments are offensive in a civil, secular society like ours on any day of the year, not just ANZAC Day.
Anything else would be un-Christian and immoral, and would make a mockery of the cause he is trying to further.