Thursday, March 1, 2012

VIC: Move fireworks from shrine, Kennett urges after row

AAP General News (Australia)
VIC: Move fireworks from shrine, Kennett urges after row

MELBOURNE, August 1 AAP - Premier Jeff Kennett has proposed removing a fireworks display to
quell a row over the Melbourne Festival's planned spectacular opening night at the Shrine of

But Mr Kennett said the planned children's choir should remain because the shrine was "a
beautiful setting" for young voices to celebrate the best of Victoria and Australia.

Victorian RSL President Bruce Ruxton condemned as inappropriate plans for an 800-strong
children's choir, pipers, drummers, musicians and the traditional fireworks to launch the 14th
Melbourne Festival at the Shrine of Remembrance.

Mr Ruxton said the shrine, the city's prime war memorial and focal point of its Anzac Day
commemoration, was sacred to Victorians and not the place for such festivities.

"If I went along with what they plan for the Melbourne Shrine I'd be virtually kicked to
death by the 55,000 members of the Victorian RSL - that's what I reckon," Mr Ruxton told Radio
3AW today.

Hearing the discussion on his car radio this morning, Mr Kennett phoned in with a possible

The fireworks, which were to be set off behind the Shrine to the 1812 overture, could be

"But I would be very loathe to see the choir removed," Mr Kennett said.

The Shrine was "one of the most reverent places in the state".

"I couldn't think of a more beautiful setting on which to have 800 young voices massed in
song to celebrate the very best of Australia, Victoria and Melbourne," he said.

"... Let's argue that the fireworks be removed from the function, but for goodness' sake,
don't drive children from a place which for many is absolutely a place for remembering, and
giving thanks but also for one of celebration."

The festival's artistic director, Sue Nattrass, said after its launch last week that she
saw no reason why the opening night would not go ahead as planned.

AAP pjb/er/bm


1999 AAP Information Services Pty Limited (AAP) or its Licensors.

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