Local MPs agree, this is “ugly stuff”

Local MPs agree, this is “ugly stuff”

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Federal Liberal Member for Canning Andrew Hastie and Labor Member for Burt and Minister for Veterans Affairs Matt Keogh were united in

Both the Federal Liberal Member for Canning Andrew Hastie and Federal Labor Member for Burt Matt Keogh have hit out at vandals who defaced the Australian War Memorial in Canberra with pro-Palestinian graffiti over the weekend.

Both the Korean and Vietnam war memorials were covered in spray paint in an attempt to draw attention to their message, but it has only drawn ire from both sides of politics.

In a series of videos posted to social media on Monday, Mr Hastie, an Afghanistan war veteran, expressed his disgust and outrage after viewing the graffiti vandalism first hand.

“This is ugly stuff,” Mr Hastie said in one video.

“Overnight protestors came down to our sacred war memorials, the Vietnam War Memorial and the Korean War Memorial, here in Canberra and put up anti-semitic slogans, they have defaced our war memorials and dishonoured our war dead.

“These people do not want to build a cohesive Australia; they want to tear down our institutions and divide us.

“If you want to build up Australia, if you want to build up its institutions, please share this video and stand with me against this sort of protesting,” he said.

Both Mr Hastie and Veterans Affairs Minister Matt Keogh yesterday spoke in Federal Parliament agreeing to pass a motion to condemn the graffiti vandalism.

Mr Keogh told parliament that Mr Hastie and other politician’s sentiments (in condemning the graffiti) “are entirely supported.”

“When we look around our communities across Australia, including mine, in a park in Armadale in the centre of town, a town that grew because of the brickworks, and in Byford in the Member for Canning’s electorate, there is a war memorial, not made of granite, not made of stone, but made of brick and it lists the names of the people from our community, people who there are streets, parks, suburbs buildings and lakes now named after them,” Minister Keogh said.

“That memorial is a who’s who of our geography and that is true of every memorial around the country, it’s why the official war historian for the first world war Charles Bean was such an advocate of the Australian War Memorial in the first place.

“So that they always knew those men who fought in the First World War, what they fought and died for would never be forgotten that their lives were never lost in vain and that is true of every war memorial that has come after it.

“It is particularly poignant for wars that are often overlooked by mainstream Australian history and global history, like the Korean War, it is even more important for memorials that stand in memoriam and for the commemoration of the lives lost and the efforts made by Australians that was so politically contested at the time, like the Vietnam war.

“The thread that runs through them is that these are people who walked away from their families, their loved ones, their jobs, and their lives and put on a uniform for their government and for many made the ultimate sacrifice and they did it because they were committed to our values and those were values of democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of political communication.

“They are the values that actually enable peaceful protest to occur in our country in the first place,” Minister Keogh continued.

“For anybody to use that freedom to desecrate a war memorial is abusing the freedom that we have been granted and awarded through the sacrifice that has been made by those people that have died or fought in our name and that is what makes what occurred, not just this week, but has occurred a number of times now at different memorials in other places around Australia so absolutely abhorrent,” he said.

“In saying that, I am not going to refer to who those people are and I am not going to refer to what they have said, because I don’t want amplify what they are trying to message through their actions.

“What I seek to do it condemn what they have done because it cuts against exactly the freedom of what they are trying to espouse and it cuts against the freedom they are afforded, being able to exercise those free democratic rights in every other way they, or anyone else, may seek to raise their cause in this country and that is what makes it so.. not only abhorrent.. but also, truly problematic in what has happened here.

“So, in saying all of that it confirms exactly what the Member for Canning sought to do in bringing forward this motion today.”