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The Killing Of Anzac

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Anzac is being killed with "the death of 1,000 cuts"


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"....These are the Anzacs; the others may claim  

Their zeal and their spirit, but never their name".

If you have any details to add or comments to make, please

Uncaring or gutless politicians of ALL parties are helping to commercialise Anzac.

  • Image is a copy of a section of Queensland's Courier Mail (daily) newspaper on November 18, 2004

It was nice that the Australian rugby league players had an opportunity to visit the war graves in France (C-M, Nov 17), but I was appalled that the ARL used the acronym Anzac for the Australian-NZ team that played a challenge match in England.  

Anzac means Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (1st. AIF) and belongs to a band of men who faced disease, hardship and gunfire the likes of which we cannot imagine, and did it with amazing courage.  Let's give them the respect they deserve and stop using Anzac indiscriminately. - T. Alexander.

Anzac is a protected word in Australia and New Zealand. In neither country is it legal to use the word in any other than it's historical sense. In both cases it is legislation at the national level that offers the protection. It is also illegal to use any word that would be confused with Anzac. (Details)
  • There are only a few exceptions.
    • Anzac biscuits is one where approval is nearly automatic.
    • Geographical references are legal (e.g. Anzac Avenue Fruit Shop).
    • RSL is usually given approval to name buildings: e.g. Anzac House.
However many in the commercial world do not know or totally ignore the rules. This is made worse when weak (gutless?) politicians do nothing to protect the word from commercialization. This page is to list the known breaches that I have personally seen and the result, if any, of complaints lodged with the Australian Minister for Veterans Affairs. The most recent is to the top.
2004. The TV Network Channel Nine (and possibly others) started to advertise the Tri-Nations Rugby League Series in the UK. One team was a combination of Aussies & NZers. Channel Nine started to advertise them as "The Anzacs" A complaint to the NEW Minister, De-Anne Kelly, was ignored for 11 days. A contact was made with my local MP who told me that they were trying to find out if an application had been made. I asked 'How long?" I was told "A long time".

As this would lead to the situation that the series would be over before any politician pulled his/her finger out I contacted EVERY MP and EVERY Senator. (Over 200 people). I asked if they were willing to protect Anzac.

I got 1 reply. (Not counting the "Out of Office" or 'Please put it in writing with a local address" replies.

I complained to RSL and they have agreed to investigate BUT their next meeting is AFTER the end of series.

Ongoing...more to follow


The Australian Government has joined forces with the New Zealand Government to seek international protection for the word ‘Anzac’, the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Danna Vale, announced today (15 April 2003). The two nations are making a joint application to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to control the use of the word ‘Anzac’.

The Minister is to be acknowledged for this attempt. It should be noted that her predecessor, Minister Scott, said that this was not possible.

This begs the question "If there is a move to protect Anzac on the international level why don't we protect it here in Australia?

Minister Vale was replaced at the next available opportunity but her failings were not so much in this regard, more a general misunderstanding of her job.

2003. Two major entrepreneurs, hiding behind a front of a community organisation sought and received approval to run, for profit, the "Great Anzac Military Tattoo" in Sydney.

Minister Bruce Scott approved this usage even though it was a double whammy. By that I mean that the misuse of Anzac was made worse by the addition of the adjective "Great". 

I ask what is next: the Magnificent Anzac Circus, the "Extra Special, You Beaut Wonderful Anzac Second Hand Car Company" or perhaps the "El Magnifico Anzac Massage Parlour; where Diggers don't need a uniform". 

Scott was replaced by the PM at the next opportunity.

The poster to the left is for the 2006 edition put on by another set of businesspeople who have invested $3.5 million in the venture but want me to believe that it is not for profit, rather to keep the Anzac Legend alive. Do I really look that stupid?

This one was approved by Minister De-Anne Kelly. She lasted 13 months in the job.

2002. Uncle Toby's launched an "Anzac Museli Slice".  When the complaint was lodged the Company withdrew the product for a short time, applied for and was given approval by the then Minister Bruce Scott. As museli had no historical attachment to Anzac or Gallipoli I put this in the "gutless politician" class. Scott was replaced by the PM at the next opportunity.
2002? One of the large media companies (a newspaper) imported tens of thousands of "Anzac Medallions" from China. The idea was to increase demand for their newspaper by selling the medallions to anyone who had a coupon cut from the paper. Australian Customs intercepted the shipment and declared them illegal. Gutless politicians allowed the importation to proceed so long as the the medallions were not sold. The media company got half or more of what it wanted by changing the rules of the promotion. There was next to no dis-incentive.
2002. Flag Inns decided to advertise themselves as "an Anzac Company" because the operate in both countries. The Company withdrew the advertising as soon as they were made aware of the problem. They are to be congratulated.

1997/98/99 Super League’s "Anzac Test"

Last year’s Anzac Day saw the emergence of several commercial ventures seeking to capitalize on the Anzac legend, the most notable being the inauguration of the Super League’s annual "Anzac Test" between Australia and New Zealand - the trophy for which includes a representation of an Australian slouch hat and New Zealand lemon squeezer hat. 

The Anzac Test was controversial not only for its use of the word "Anzac" but also for the manner in which the advertisements cast the participating athletes in the gladiatorial mould currently in vogue for the promotion of professional sports, suggesting in some way that they were modern "Anzacs".

Bruce Ruxton, National Deputy President of the Australian Returned Services League, was featured in the advertisements proclaiming:

"Mark my words, Australia is still in grave danger from one of our so-called neighbours. The Kiwis were once our allies and now they’re on the other side - at least for 80 minutes".

The advertisement concluded with the words "lest we forget". 

Mr. Ruxton was estimated to have been paid up to A$5000 for his part in the commercials (Sydney Morning Herald, 22 April 1997) and in an attempt to quell the furore Super League announced it would donate $20,000 to the RSL and provide free entry for returned servicemen. 

Super League’s explanation was that it was "trying to create a young audience" and that it could "contribute through our young audience so that young people should realise the great history and traditions of some of our servicemen [who] have gone away and given their life for their country" (Editorial, Sydney Morning Herald, 19 April 1997).

Australian politicians allowed the match to be advertised as the 'Anzac Day Test" but in those years and as recently as 2004 did NOTHING when the ruling was ignored.

Cynical old me thinks that politicians do not want to ring Kerry Packer's boys to tell them that they are in breach.


The wording to the left is from NZ Protect Anzac


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