No questions on ANZAC crowds: Minister

Victoria’s Veterans Minister has refused to explain a State Government decision to severely limit attendance at the 2021 ANZAC Day services at this week’s parliamentary hearings on the State Budget.

In a bumbling and confused response, Veterans Minister Shaun Leane couldn’t say why he did not advocate for more than 1400 to be allowed to attend this year’s ANZAC Day Dawn service – a decision that deeply offended Victoria’s veteran community.

At the same time, the State Government was advocating for more than 75,000 to attend the MCG on the same day, less than two kilometres away.

In a rambling response to the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee (PAEC), the Minister wasted seven minutes attempting to quote what the restrictions were in other states – even failing to get that right.

He claimed only 400 people were allowed to attend the Dawn Service in Sydney, when in fact the permitted number was 5000.

The Dawn Service limits left a number of veterans and their families locked out, forced to peer through erected fences or separated from the battalions they march with every year.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Veterans Tim Bull

You have to wonder about this Government’s priorities and commitment to veterans when they are out in the media calling for 100,000 at the MCG on ANZAC Day, but are silent on the Dawn Service.

The Minster’s lack of advocacy on this topic left many veterans and veterans groups dumfounded. They are both outdoor events, on the same day in the same area. Their silence was deafening and when asked for an explanation, the Minister had nothing. Our veterans deserved at least an answer.

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