Apr 27, 2005

Howard back-flip on ANZAC Cove listing

HOWARD BACK-FLIP ON ANZAC COVE LISTING

MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 27 April 2005

After requesting the road works which damaged extensively the site of the original landings at Gallipoli, the Prime Minister has today abandoned the National Heritage Listing of Anzac Cove.

Not listing Anzac Cove is a huge back-flip by the Prime Minister. On 18 December 2003, John Howard gave an unequivocal commitment:

“It seems to me … entirely appropriate that the Anzac site at Gallipoli should represent the first nomination for inclusion on the National Heritage List. And, although it’s not on Australian territory, anyone who has visited the place will know that once you go there you feel it as an Australian as the piece of land on which your home is built.”

The next day he categorically stated:

“I’m quite sure that the understanding that we have with the Turkish authorities would ensure [that Anzac Cove is listed].”

These commitments should not have been given if there was doubt they could be delivered.

Labor welcomes the proposed archaeological study of the area. However, it is an extraordinary admission by the Government to now request a survey after ignoring the earlier survey conducted by Dr Cameron and Dr Dowling which found human remains in at the site where the road works were done. In April 2003 that survey was reported in detail to senior Government officials.

The new survey must be comprehensive and its findings must guide future work. The preservation of the heritage and integrity of the whole Gallipoli area, to the extent now possible, must be the absolute priority.

Many questions remain over the road works at Anzac Cove and Labor will pursue this matter when Parliament resumes.

A Government which authorises the playing of the disco hits "Stayin’ Alive" and "You Should be Dancing" at an Anzac Day Commemoration ceremony highlights once again its lack of respect for our history.