Breakthrough for ANZAC march but ‘fractures’ in veteran-RSL relationship remain
After outrage from the veteran community, the capacity limit for Sydney’s ANZAC Day march has been increased several times over.
The proposed limit, which is expected to be swiftly rubber-stamped by NSW Health, has been lifted from 500 to 3500 marching.
Past and present servicemen and women who register can also invite two guests to spectate.
NSW RSL President Ray James told Jim Wilson less than 200 veterans have signed up so far, but he expects more registrations when restrictions on reunions ease.
He explained why he’s not overly concerned about the age and vulnerability of those marching.
“We know who’s who at the zoo, so to speak. The big issue was people were complaining about having to register, but it’s no different than all the other celebrations out there.
“At the end of the day, we have been working and moving forward since September last year … with the government, to make as much as possible a familiar ANZAC commemoration.”
Retired Special Forces Commander Heston Russell acknowledged the low number of registrations is in large part due to tension between the veteran community and the RSLs.
“There’s a lot of issues coming to the front here with some fractures within the ex-service organisations … we need to push that aside, we need to all register.
“What we have now is the opportunity to now work together, identify these faults and bring all veterans together, because we’ve almost ended up with egg in our face.”
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