Anzac Day has been sold out by the NSW Lotteries with a “Marching On” OZ Lotto promotion within weeks of the formerly state-owned gambling enterprise being bought out by Victoria’s Tatts Group.

Worse still, sources within the RSL movement, which is supposed to guard Anzac related terms and images from commercial exploitation, say the obscene exploitation of Anzac Day by the promotion is “perfectly legal”.

If this is true, it marks a capitulation at the highest levels to open slather on the commercial exploitation of Anzac Day by association of imagery and terminology from now on.

Under a banner borne aloft by three armed forces figures in uniform, one carrying a  World War 1 rifle, the “Marching On” OZ Lotto promotion pushes every Anzac Day hot button except Simpson’s donkey.

It depicts a slouch hat, bush flowers, and shades of solemn khaki.

Avoiding the use of the word Anzac, it refers to a first prize (at each of hundreds of participating NSW Lotteries agencies) of a six-person tent to use on “the April Long Weekend”.

Last Anzac Day Crikey caught Tiger Airways promoting an Anzac Day sale, for which it ended up being truly sorry and out of pocket through a substantial donation to the RSL.

Yesterday we reported an aborted radio promotion by the Collingwood Football Club for the Anzac Day match in which the  was played in the background, which the RSL this week had the courage to discourage.

But not today. The RSL national president, Rear Admiral Ken Doolan (retired) is not available to take our question as to “which part of sell out” he doesn’t understand in permitting a powerful commercial entity, the NSW Lotteries, to trample all over the remembrance of the deaths of 61,720 Australians in World War 1 with a gambling promotion.

The minister for veterans’ affairs, Alan Griffin, is on his way to Anzac Cove and could not be reached for comment.

If nothing happens, expect Anzac Day next year to be bursting with marching on sales, memorial offers and a wholesale trashing of the remembrance of the dead.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey