The Packer Dis-Memorial Collective, named after our protest at Kerry Packer's taxpayer-funded funeral on February 17, is organising a "take-two" on March 14 at 8.30am outside the Downing Centre court in Sydney. Eight people are facing charges such as "failing to comply with direction to leave an area" and "operating a public address system without authority".
Just as PM John Howard's memorial to Packer consisted of speeches, music and comedy, so too will our dis-memorial. We will hear from Tim Anderson, Lee Rhiannon (Greens), Arthur Chesterfield-Evans (Democrats), Phillip Adams and The Chaser, among others.
There is increasing concern at Howard's abuse of public memorials. Surely we'd want to eulogise an ethos of community rather than greed?
A Sydney Morning Herald survey on February 17 revealed that 68% rejected giving Packer saint-like legitimacy. Even Richard Walsh, who wrote a tribute to Packer in the Bulletin magazine, managed a somersault in his February 24 SMH critique of the Packers and Howards, in which he described them as "representing all that is wrong with contemporary Australia"!
The "Dis-Memorial Eight" are being given legal support by the NSW Council for Civil Liberties. We are asking the NSW attorney-general and police minister to explain what went wrong on February 17 and to drop the charges.
From Green Left Weekly, March 15, 2006.
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