New rules may mean the end of Anzac Day re-enactments
HISTORICAL re-enactors in Anzac Day ceremonies across Queensland say their bid to keep the Anzac spirit alive is in jeopardy because of a decision to alter the weapons they can use.
A five-year re-enactor exemption to the Weapons Act - which allows certain groups to conduct historical re-enactments using certain types of weapons - expires at midnight on Monday, just hours before Anzac Day ceremonies are due to begin.
A new exemption was granted, but the Queensland Living History Federation says the conditions have changed and have left the federation and its members in limbo as to what they can and cannot do.
President Terry Fitzsimmons said the federation had asked for a three-month extension to the old exemption to allow the ceremonies to go ahead while they negotiate a compromise.
"At the moment, what we are saying to people is that unless they do that, we are just going to have to not be present, especially around the areas that are unclear," he said.
Police say the new conditions are only slightly altered, with inoperable weapons allowed and some categories that can be made operable for the purpose of military re-enactments or historical demonstrations.
Lockyer Valley collector Russell Tattam, who is part of the Gatton Anzac Day parade, said re-enactments were a vital part of the ceremonies.
"The reason we do this … is to keep the spirit of the Anzacs alive. Lest we forget."
Opposition police spokesman Tim Mander called on Police Minister Mark Ryan to intervene.
"This is a perfect example of political correctness gone mad and a government that is out of touch with the people they are supposed to represent," Mr Mander said.
Mr Ryan, however, said he backed the decision to alter the exemption, with inoperable weapons still allowed.
"I support the Queensland Police decision to ensure there are no operable Category D, H or R weapons held by general members of the public at Anzac Day events in our state," he said.
"Unfortunately, we live in a heightened security environment where additional security precautions are taken to ensure the safety of everyone."