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Tony Abbott poised to fill vacancy on Australian War Memorial board

Veteran’s Affairs Minister Darren Chester told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald he could not speculate on the War Memorial appointment.

“There is a vacancy on the war memorial council and I will be making a recommendation to cabinet in the coming weeks,” Mr Chester said.

The position attracts a modest annual salary of $26,340 plus additional travel and meal allowances.

Carlyon, the author of Gallipoli and The Great War,  had served on the memorial’s council in successive terms since May 2006.

One of Australia’s most popular domestic and international tourist attractions, the Canberra institution has attracted billions of dollars of public and private investment in the past decade under director Brendan Nelson, also a former federal Liberal leader.


The influential Australian War Memorial board is headed by Seven West chairman Kerry Stokes, a well-known benefactor to Australia’s national cultural institutions who donates to a wide range of other charitable causes. He was reappointed for a second three-year term by the government in August 2017.

Other members include Margaret Jackson, a corporate executive and longtime chair of Qantas, current Australian Amy chief lieutenant General Rick Burr and former Royal Australian Navy commander Vice Admiral Michael Noonan.

About $500 million will be spent on a major expansion of the Canberra site in a bid to put more focus on Australia’s recent military history, prompting criticism the approach could diminish the intended purpose of the memorial.

The investment, supported federally by both major parties, will see Anzac Hall at the rear of the building knocked down and rebuilt with more than double the exhibition space.

An underground atrium beneath the front of the building and a new precinct at the back of the memorial will also be constructed.

Mr Abbott, a keen war historian, has kept a low profile since his election defeat but said in his election night concession speech he would “continue to serve”.

“My public life will I imagine go on,” he said.

“I look forward to many many more years living, working and serving in the greatest part of the greatest city of the greatest country on earth.”

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