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Thursday, 18 April 1985
Page: 1211

Senator GILES —Is the Minister for Veterans' Affairs aware of Press reports in the Canberra Times of 13 and 14 April 1985 protesting the change of title of various art works in the national collection? Does the Minister intend to reverse the decision of the Australian War Memorial to change the title of the two art works in question, which I understand depict Simpson and his donkey?

Senator GIETZELT —I am aware that there has been what can only be described as a beat-up story in the Canberra Times in respect of the painting and sculpture known as The Man with the Donkey. Suggestions have been made that somehow people associated with the Australian War Memorial-the Government, or, for that matter, anybody-have changed the title of what was commonly known as The Man with the Donkey. The suggestion is that it should have been known as Simpson and his Donkey. It is a beat-up story. Unfortunately, it was published in the Canberra Times, which has made a minor retraction from the original statement. It did receive some other media publicity. I assure Senator Giles that the artist of the original painting, Mr Horace Moore-Jones, always described his painting as The Man with the Donkey. The sculpture that was produced by Leslie Bowles was also called The Man with the Donkey. However, I think it is probably true that many people did come to regard the art works as being called Simpson and his Donkey, because of the tradition in folklore about the famous man, Simpson, in the Anzac landing at Gallipoli.

I assure Senator Giles that there is absolutely no truth in the story that anybody has changed the name of the art works. It has been a popular misconception which was corrected some years ago. It is a pity that a journalist should publish material which is misleading and which causes some distress in the veteran community. I assure Senator Giles and the Senate that the correct designation of the art works is The Man with the Donkey.