Friday, 16 April 2010

RSL doesn't want to take the blame

Below is a response from the RSL Victorian State President, Major-General McLachlan, to the National Chairman of the Australian Monarchist league, Philip Benwell, in which he advises that the ANZAC Day Commemoration Council have met and decided to stick by their decision to omit the Royal Hymn from the Anzac Dawn Service.

The letter is dating from 16th April 2010.

Dear Mr Benwell,

I write in response to your email expressing concern about the decision of the ANZAC Day Commemoration Council to remove the hymn 'God Save the Queen' from the ANZAC Day Dawn Service at the Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance.

The ANZAC Day Commemoration Council is the body responsible for ANZAC Day ceremonies at the Shrine of Remembrance and has been in existence since 1926. The Council is comprised of representatives from the State Government, the City of Melbourne, the Returned & Services League of Australia, WWII Navy, WWII Army, WWII RAAF, Post 1945 Army, Navy and RAAF veterans, Legacy and the Shrine of Remembrance.

Although the RSL State President chairs the ANZAC Day Commemoration Council, decisions in relation to ANZAC Day Commemoration activities in Melbourne are not RSL decisions. The media, however, has portrayed this specific decision as an RSL one and nearly all the public comment on the decision, both critical and supportive, has been directed at the RSL.

In view of your email and wider public reaction to the above decision, the Council met again on the 15th April to revisit its decision of the 23rd March 2010.

After much debate, the Council voted in favour of standing by its original decision and, in doing so, bring us into line with the ANZAC Day Dawn services conducted at the Australian War Memorial and in the other State Capitals, with the exception of New South Wales, where God Save the Queen is not included.

Please be assured that the Council took into consideration the comments received by both yourself and others within the community and listened intently to the comments from the veterans present at the meeting.

Yours sincerely,

David J McLachlan
ANZAC Day Commemoration Council

Bendigo shows loyalty
In Victoria's second biggest city, ANZAC Day services will be held in the traditional way. There are no plans to dump the playing of God Save The Queen.

As the Bendigo Advertiser reported, Bendigo RSL president Cliff Richards said the anthem was a tradition that would this year and into the future despite the Melbourne Anzac Day organising committee dropping it from their order of service.

The (Bendigo) Anzac Day march committee hasn’t made the decision . . . but as president I would be insisting we have to play God Save The Queen,” Mr Richards said.

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