Intelligence Squared debates: Anzac Day is more puff than substance

Defence War Nationalism Commemoration Australia


The plucky bravery of the Anzacs is one of our great national stories – it plays into our idea of who we are. But why is one of the touchstones of our identity based on a historic defeat?

Some are sick of the mantras of Anzac and mateship, while others believe worship of soldiers is inappropriate in an era when we’re still at war in Afghanistan. Are we becoming warmongers – or recognising the sacrifice of our defence personnel?

Our diverse panel – including historians, war reporters and former Army personnel – argue some of the thorny issues.

For the proposition:

· Professor Marilyn Lake – historian and author of What’s Wrong with Anzac
· Graham Wilson – formerly of the Australian Army and Department of Defence, now a historian and writer
· Jeff Sparrow – writer and editor of Overland

Against the proposition:

· Dr Brendan Nelson – director of the Australian War Memorial and former ambassador and politician
· John Martinkus – conflict zone journalist and cinematographer
· Brigadier Nicholas Jans – Australian Army veteran, Army Reservist and Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Defence Leadership & Ethics at ADFA

This debate was recorded on 30 April 2013.

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