Diggers furious over politically correct attack on Kokoda

Mar 20, 2017

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Interpretive panels along the Kokoda Track that refer to ‘friendship’ instead of ‘mateship’ are absolutely rubbish, says a former Australian Army major and Vietnam vet.

The word mateship was been replaced, according to the foreign minister’s office, because the word is uniquely Australian and not understood in PNG.

“That’s absolutely rubbish and it just shows you how little they know about the campaign,” former major Charlie Lynn told David and Will on FIVEaa breakfast.

“They funded those interpretative panels there and they then hide behind the Papua New Guineans. If they’re serious about writing the Papua New Guinea history then setup up an Australian-PNG project at the war memorial.

“Don’t get some politically correct contractor who’s got… no record of military history at all to try and interpret it for us,” Charlie said.

“It’s part of a process to reinterpret the history of the Kokoda campaign and demilitarise it… People who go to Kokoda now have an environmental levitation instead of a wartime pilgrimage.”

“Veterans’ Affairs have abrogated their responsibility in this area. I just find it ludicrous that Veterans’ Affairs have responsibility for Gallipoli, which is our WWI icon, and a totally separate Department of Environment has responsibility for Kokoda, which is our WWII icon.

“It just doesn’t make sense.”

Charlie -- who has run Kokoda treks for the past 25 years -- also said he had seen little evidence of women taking offence to the word ‘mateship’…

“They’re as matey as anybody,” he said. “They use the term amongst themselves. I don’t see an issue with it. I think there’s a small group of women that have an issue with it, but the greater majority don’t.”

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