One has to wonder what they were thinking. The news release here.
Funding cuts in this year's Budget have seen the Australian War Memorial seek commercial sponsorship for its daily closing ceremony.
Every day at 4:50pm, the strains of The Last Post, or a piper's lament, fill the air around the national War Memorial as staff and visitors stop to remember those who have fought for Australia.
Memorial director Steve Gower will today announce that the ceremony will be sponsored by ACT telecommunications company TransACT.
The predictable backlash here.
'Eternal Flame' Seen at night. James Kightly.
The announcement drew an angry reaction from radio talkback callers and politicians outraged that the event should be commercialised.
Brigadier Gower pointed out that 87 corporate and individual sponsors already covered the costs of exhibitions in the memorial's museum area, but conceded that this was the first time the ceremony had been sponsored.
Paying musicians was too expensive and the alternative would have been to resort to a recording. A recording of the Last Post was played until 2001, when the memorial's council decided to engage musicians.
Yesterday TransACT offered to remove the logo to avoid public concern. Brigadier Gower said he would examine public comments about the move and consider that offer.
Nationals senator Ron Boswell said the sponsorship was an outrage and the Last Post should be free of any distractions. ''It is there to remember our fallen, not the name of a telephone company.''
It has been pointed out that the sponsorship is very small, very discreet - in which case the sponsors are hardly getting a good deal. The conclusion seems to be that similar costs should've been covered by sponsorship elsewhere. It's a too emotional item in their portfolio to be a smart move.