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Letters: Our readers respond to $500 million expansion of the Australain War Memorial

The following letters were submitted to AVN in response to Leo D'Angelo Fisher's article on the $500M expansion of the Australian War Memorial.

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Peter M Clayton, 29 August 2020

Good article, I served with D COY 4 RAR 68/69 and made a TPI in 1994.

It was a brutal exercise and as I was a farmer made even more difficult as was self employed, as my health was simply destroyed I believe even before I arrived home from Vietnam.

I have tried to work for our veterans best interest via the TPI movement but found that it was hopeless and made up of people only interested in thier own pockets and few had the skills to do anything.

Now I do not get involved, the government don’t want to have any interest in us, nor the RSL.

I refuse to attend any thing to do with services for ANZAC or anything else to do with military or government commemorations.


Russel Morison, 29 August 2020

I am in receipt of the article below and would like to comment.

Firstly, I think the spirit of your argument is cogent and on the mark.

I don't have a problem spending funds on a redevelopment, provided it is the right one. We as a Nation keep sending our boys and girls into harms way and need to honour them. And I doubt we will stop doing so anytime soon. If by iterration, we do that, we need to have space to display material from their histories.

I believe the AWM is bulging at its seams. the obvious question is whether any group or individual have looked at the spatial requirements. Not long ago the CSIRO building was vacated. I have no idea if it is still there. But somehow, space needs to be made for new exhibits. What are the options? What is the cost of those options? Is there a public document explaining the business case? I have not seen it yet and would love to do so-at least in executive summary.

Further, you are right on the money as far as that goes. DFRDB pension/commutation rip off, more availability of the old TPI for those unable to work-"you sent us there to do your bidding but I cannot and am not able to work because of my service". Two issues that demand an answer, the elephant in the room and not being fixed, and still we send our people overseas at government behest, only to be treated shamefully by those who govern us. Not good enough.

I would be delighted if you could explain further.

Many Thanks,

Russ Morison

Canberra ACT

1968-1995 ARA


Max de Mestre-Allen, 29 August 2020

I have not seen any substantial plans of the proposed additions to the AWM, but I do see a lot of derogatory remarks with little substance in this letter. Terms like "theme park", "Disney Land'" etc are thrown around with nothing to substantiate them.

This person also seems to have a vendetta on Brendan Nelson, as he comes in for dose of vitriol. I have also seen nothing of the alleged letter signed by a number of people condemning the proposed additions. I do however agree that $500m would go a long way to helping,

a) Diggers with problems, and

b) new equipment for the current ADF.

If someone can provide further info I would be happy to see it.


Frank Jock O'Neill, 29 August 2020

Governments since Vietnam have said they can’t afford to compensate our disabled for ‘suffering loss of income’ at anything other than under the Minimum Wage and less than the OECD Poverty Line...

The Rudd/Gillard/Rudd administrations spent over $1 billion that right one hundred million dollars over the four years of the centenary of WW1 on monuments, museums in France and junkets for politicians and ESO hangers on. Yes could not find a dollar for the disabled Digger...

The Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison administrations have carried out three reviews into the adequacy of the under poverty line amount paid to our disabled veterans and have acted on none of them ...

Frank Jock O’Neill

Disabled Veterans of Australia Network


Ian Stiles, 31 August 2020

As a Vietnam TPI, I have no complaints about the treatment and support  the government‘s DVA provides.

I think we should be recognising the young diggers that have fought in many theatres after Vietnam. Maybe not recognising them enough is the cause of the high suicide rate amongst the younger returned service men and women. We also need to recognise them more and  for that to happen we need a bigger war memorial.

The $500 million also fits in with the COVID 19 recovery program in that it is providing jobs in the construction industry and it is expanding a Tourist Destination that is needed to boost the “Holiday in Australia” strategy.

Ian Stiles

Jurien Bay Western Australia.

SVN 1966-67 and 1969-70


Eric John Leatham, 1 September 2020

To Whom It May Concern,

As a returned serviceman, I’m against this gross proposed outlay of millions of $$’s to Glorify wars,  remember the fallen and loss of Mates yes, but this money should go to the Health and Welfare of present and future Service Personel, My View.

E.J. Leatham

W3 Coy.



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