Some heavy artillery is being lined up against businesses like the Melbourne CBD Domayne store that used Anzac Day and an image of the Shrine of Remembrance and a digger in a sales promotion over the weekend.

The national president of the RSL, Major General Bill Crews said “There was an outbreak of commercial exploitation of Anzac Day and its symbols this year which we won’t tolerate.”

“The Domayne example was totally unacceptable and the most serious of many. And the use of the photograph of the Shrine in Melbourne to sell furniture and bedding is exceptionally offensive.”

Crews said he had accepted the apology of Tiger Airways for issuing a completely inappropriate press release on the eve of Anzac Day concerning the sale of 30,000 “free” seats after receiving a sincere and detailed explanation for the airline.

Tiger explained how the press release writer made an association with Anzac Day which was not actually part of that sales campaign and was genuinely contrite as to the offence that this has caused.

We accepted that this was one younger person who had no understanding of the importance of the day making an error and association that the airline had never contemplated making.

However Crews said he is appalled at the widespread ignorance this year of Australian companies of the legislation which protects the name and imagery of Anzac Day and the Anzac tradition from commercial exploitation.

“We saw a number of things that we strongly disapproved of.”

“Our people in Victoria will be making very strong points to Domayne’s management and I will be raising this and other matters with Veterans Affairs [which administers the relevant laws] in the near future,” he said.

Sources in Veterans Affairs have already indicated following the Tiger incident that the use of Anzac Day as a sales opportunity, or an association with goods or services that are not directly involved in the observance of the day are offences punishable by jail or fines under the Crimes Act.

Peter Fray

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