The Prime Minister has contradicted his Veterans’ Affairs Minister, the Australian War Memorial and even himself in refusing to admit his $800,000 cut to the Australian War Memorial’s Travelling Exhibitions Program.
Today in Question Time, the Prime Minister said:
“I want to stress that the $800,000 that he refers to has not been cut.”
[Prime Minister – House of Representatives Question Time – 28 August 2014]
At the same time in the Senate, his Veterans’ Affairs Minister was asked about the funding cut and said:
“I did not do this with any joy.”
[Minister Ronaldson – Senate Question Time – 28 August 2014]
And the Australian War Memorial has said:
“The Department of Veterans Affairs informed the memorial last week that it has found it necessary to cease funding the travelling exhibition program effective immediately.”
[Australian War Memorial Statement – 25 August 2014]
The Australian War Memorial has said this is a cut, and so has Senator Ronaldson. So why can’t the Prime Minister own up to this broken promise?
It’s a disgrace that while the Government cuts the entire funding for this valuable program, they have ticked off $810,000 in media monitoring and market research programs for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
This cut is yet another broken promise from Tony Abbott, who before the election said:
“The Coalition will take the action necessary to preserve, protect and enhance the Australian War Memorial.”
In the year of the Centenary of Anzac, it is a disgrace that the Prime Minister has cut the funding of the Australian War Memorial’s Travelling Exhibitions Program.
These priorities are wrong and these cuts must be reversed immediately.
The Abbott Government has failed to give any reason as to why it is suddenly cutting this funding. Last year, the Labor Government announced $10 million in additional funding for the War Memorial’s National Anzac Centenary Travelling Exhibition, an announcement Tony Abbott was trying to claim as his own today.
The Australian War Memorial has been conducting travelling exhibitions for 17 years, providing evidence of the lives, actions, and fate of the men and women who served and died for Australia.
To date, an audience of over 3.8 million visitors outside of Canberra have viewed the exhibitions, seen by over 200,000 people every year.
The latest funding cuts to the Australian War Memorial are on top of their unfair budget which unfairly targets veterans by:
· Cutting veterans’ pensions by reducing the rate of indexation to CPI;
· Axing three months’ backdating of veterans’ disability pensions for new recipients, costing new recipients up to $8405;
· Scraping the $870 seniors supplement for some veterans; and
· Cutting $217 annual payments for the children of war veterans.
THURSDAY, 28 AUGUST 2014
MEDIA CONTACT: LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT 02 6277 4053
LAURA WOOD (FEENEY) 0423 815 60
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