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‘Quite perplexing’, Australian War Memorial under attack for ‘entertainment’ factor

The Australian War Memorial is under attack, accused of making war a source of entertainment.

The criticism has risen out of a federal inquiry into Canberra’s cultural institutions, with the Medical Association for the Prevention of War taking aim at the Memorial’s chosen sponsors.

Director of the Australian War Memorial Dr Brendan Nelson is rubbishing claims entertainment takes precedence.

“I find it quite perplexing,” he tells Chris Smith.

“I challenge anybody who’s visited the war memorial in the last two or three years to walk away and think, ‘well, I can’t wait to have another war’.

“There’s no triumphalism. We certainly don’t sterilise things.”

Dr Nelson concedes defence manufacturers provide the memorial with funds but primarily contribute to “education programs” and digitising their collections.

“I’m very careful to make sure that we don’t go into what you would brazenly call the entertainment space.

“The veterans themselves, the RSL, the veterans organisations… they are strongly supportive of the involvement of the companies.”

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