(Image: Gorkie/Private Media)

This week the National Capital Authority (NCA) -- a federally appointed body that oversees the "Commonwealth’s interests and intentions for planning, designing and developing Canberra and the Territory" -- signed off on what is called the "early works" of the government's half-billion redevelopment of the Australian War Memorial (AWM).

The NCA is chaired by Terry Weber, a Liberal donor appointed by the Abbott government. Dennis Richardson, the long-time national security bureaucrat and supporter of the prosecution of Bernard Collaery and Witness K, is also on the board.

The description "early works" -- with approval for the main part of the project still to come -- is entirely misleading. This won't be moving a carpark or knocking down some trees (though plenty of mature trees, a key part of the setting of the AWM, will be knocked down). It will include the demolition of the Anzac Hall, opened in 2001 to great delight from both memorial visitors and architects.