Please explain: Veterans push for ANZAC crowd limits to be lifted

Acting Premier James Merlino needs to explain to Victorians why he is pushing strongly for the ANZAC Day football crowd to be increased from 75,000 to 100,000, but still refuses to increase attendance at the already booked out Dawn Service on the same day from just 1400.

It comes as the Commonwealth Government has today joined the push for all states to lift restrictions limiting numbers at ANZAC Day services.

Shadow Minister for Veterans Affairs Tim Bull said unless the Andrews Government could provide the public health advice to support its decision, crowd limits must be lifted.

“This is the most important day on the calendar for many and it makes no sense how we can have upwards of 75,000 at one location, while less than two kilometres away just hours earlier, the crowd is limited to 1400,” Mr Bull said.

“Mr Merlino needs to explain his rationale to the veteran and wider Victorian community.”

Late last week James Merlino gushed he was “hopeful of a move to 100 per cent capacity (at the MCG) for ANZAC Day. We are working together to get to that point.”  Meanwhile, the Government has been completely silent on the already booked out attendance at the Dawn Service.

On top of this, the Government is restricting the traditional ANZAC Day march to just 5000 veterans, with all required to pre-register.

“As we have heard from veterans, this demographic won’t do that, they see it as disrespectful to have to register and to be told they cannot march in their Battalions,” Mr Bull said.

“If it’s good enough to have 100,000 at the MCG, then we should lift these ridiculous restrictions on ANZAC Day and follow the lead of Queensland, which is having the day as normal.

“Victoria is now well over 50 days without a coronavirus community transmission and the Government is saying it’s safe for tens of thousands of people to gather.

“After COVID lockdown forced cancellation of last year’s services, the Andrews Labor Government owes it to all Victorians to ensure we all have an opportunity to come together to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.”

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